This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Comedy Romance, Historical Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released on July 1, 2014
I really didn’t bother looking beyond the fact that this was part of Katie MacAlister’s Noble series because I just knew it would be a gamer. I have to say that I enjoyed this one more than book two, but I’m not sure if it quite nudges out book one in the favorite of the series. Espionage, hellion children, bigamous marriage, secret sex book, dangerous accidents, advertisement for marriage, an animal menagerie and a niece named Thom who has a thing for a burglar are just some of the zany things that make for a fun romp through Regency England. The series should probably be read in order, but the ties are loose enough so that the reader can grab them out of order in a pinch.
After Harry, the Marquis of Rosse, looks around his lonely distressed life of out of control children, estate and home needing attention, and a personal need that he won’t give name to, he decides that it is time to remarry. He instructs his secretary to put an advertisement in the local paper instead of going through the London social season because he doesn’t want someone just marrying him for title or money. He wants a mature gentlewoman who can get his domestic life back in order and warm his lonely bed. He will hide his true identity and let the children be a delightful surprise after the wedding takes place. To ensure he gets the right woman for the job, he will interview the candidates and the deed will be done.
A disgraced and disowned by family, Frederica ‘Plum’ Pelham has a scandalous past which has left her to the point where she needs to find a husband to support her before she and her niece lose even the humble roof that covers their head. She dreamed of an honest loving husband with a sense of humor who will give her children. Is that too much to ask? No gentleman will touch her after discovering that she was the victim of a fake marriage with a man who was already married and left her high and dry to live it all down on her own. If that weren’t bad enough, she supported herself in the early years by writing under a nom de plume, an in-depth how-to guide to marital relations that both scandalized and titillated society. So in desperation, she answers the newspaper inquiry and finds herself married to a man that has a few secrets of his own.
As Harry and Plum adjust to married and family life, they grow to feel more than they expected for each other in their hasty arranged marriage. This makes the secrets Plum is still keeping like a sword hanging over her head wondering if and when Harry will discover her deceit and hate her for it when her past destroys him and his family. Harry is just delighted that he found the only woman who could so satisfy him and survive his children, but his secrets have put his family in danger and he must keep them safe at all costs.
The plot on this one revolves entirely around Harry and Plum’s secrets when they first jump into their unorthodox marriage. There was a teeny bit of drag in the middle that didn’t quite reach boring, but I did hope for things to move along. It was a story full of absolute mayhem and was so over the top that it can’t be taken seriously. As in the past there are serious elements like the danger following them and certain aspects of their relationship, but for the most part, its just pure entertainment.
Plum’s expertise into bedroom gymnastics and the flipping hilarious names she calls all the positions had me cracking up. She was something else for a heroine. No shy virgin or angsty lady there. She was made of sturdy stock and took all that life through at her with aplomb. Not that she didn’t have her insecurities, but they were unselfish ones. She worried about how her scandalous secrets would affect others even while she was persuaded that Harry and the children were her chance to grasp at happiness for her and Thom.
Harry was an engaging hero. I loved that he was just plain Harry. He is described as merely pleasant looking, he wears glasses, he has a bit of a soft belly in his middle-age, he is a disorganized disaster with his things and children, and he’s a bit oblivious, but he is so much more too. Harry doesn’t bother with denial when it comes to what he wants and his feelings, he accepts Plum as she is and loves her for all of it, he is up to a romp with his wife and beneath it all he has the strength and ability to take care of his wife and family when necessary.
It was fun to have Noble’s son Nick all grown up and playing a part and I liked the brief appearance of Noble in the story too. They were all working the dangerous intriguing side of the plot and that kept my attention as the fun romantic comedy stuff.
All in all, I enjoyed this latest installment in the series and recommend it to those who love historical romantic comedy on the spicy side.
My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.