THE WRONG MARQUESS - Vivienne Lorret
England - 1828
Eighteen years ago, Elodie (Ellie) Parris lost her father and became an orphan. Cared for by her maiden aunts, Maeve, and Myrtle, she had a neighbor boy, George, also an orphan, who was a few years older than her, and a marquess. Despite his antics, they were friends, and, after a scary accident in which Elodie "saves" George, he tells her he'll have to marry her in the future. So, for all of these years, that is what Elodie expects. Even if, during the present Season, George seems more intent on enjoying himself.
While waiting for George to propose, Ellie and two of her friends, who are married, have been collaborating on a book that will help young women avoid what their friend, Prue, had to deal with when she was caught in a compromising situation, which led to her being sent away from London. They've entitled titled the book The Marriage Habits of the Native Aristocrat. Research, however, is limited since both of her friends are away, and Ellie has no real way of investigating the "native aristocrats". Attending a tea with her aunts, Ellie literally runs into the most eligible bachelor of the present day, Brandon, the Marquess of Hullworth. He is rude, thinking Ellie is just another debutante on the hunt for his hand in marriage. Ellie responds in like, furious at his behavior.
Brandon has had enough of the Season. He is constantly surrounded by mothers of daughters, all fawning over him, professing the attributes of their girls. But Brandon's sister, Meg, is having her time in the ton and he won't ruin things for her. However, he's sure that Meg's sudden new friendship with Miss Elodie Parris is just too convenient. Even when Ellie tells him that she will eventually marry someone named George, Brandon thinks it's all a ploy to rein him in.
Ellie maintains her dislike of her friend's brother, unsure of why he is so ill-mannered towards her. In the meantime, what is going on with George? Why is he flitting around London, and not courting Ellie? Soon, spending more and more time with Meg, and ultimately with Brandon, Ellie begrudgingly tolerates him as he seems to be less hostile. As far as Brandon is concerned, Ellie's blind devotion to George is completely incomprehensible. The more he learns about Ellie, the more he begins to realize that she is not one of the grasping debutantes pursuing him.
THE WRONG MARQUESS is the third book in The Mating Habits of Scoundrels series. Ellie and Brandon spar, George shows his shallowness, and Ellie's aunts "collect" recipes, and give maiden aunt advice. There is plenty of humor, as well as romance in this delightful tale. Will Ellie get over George? Can she warm to Brandon? And what of Brandon? His disdain for the swarms of debutantes and his confusion about why Ellie isn't chasing him have him confused.
Readers will delight in this latest in the series, and it isn't necessary to have read the previous two books. Each chapter begins with a quote from The Marriage Habits of the Native Aristocrat. Enjoy THE WRONG MARQUESS, it is very entertaining.