Review: Merely a Marriage by Jo Beverley

Posted May 31, 2017 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 18 Comments

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Review: Merely a Marriage by Jo Beverley
Merely a Marriage

One StarOne StarHalf a Star

Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Berkley
Released on 30 May 2017
Pages: 384
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The Delight

A last book by a beloved author had me feeling all kinds of sentimental and predisposed to love this one.  A sibling challenge, a fiery unconventional heroine, and a melancholy hero were mildly engaging.


As I said, this was a swan song book by an author I have been reading her books for over two decades.  With a little connection to her Company of Rogues world, I happily looked for the cameos that were there.  I enjoyed the redoubtable Dowager Countess of Cawle and another visit with Mr. Peake as strong side characters.  A visit with the Major and Blanche in on scene and the older generation.  The pall of the Princess Charlotte’s death in child birth offered the historical backdrop.

Now, as to my thoughts on the story’s plot and characters.  I really don’t want to say this, but at best I was mildly engaged with this book.  It was boring.  There, I said it.  I didn’t care for the heroine very much, the premise was weak for me, and the romance was nearly none existent while much of the book was waiting for something interesting to happen.

The premise revolves around the heroine, Ariana, panicking that her brother has no heir (he’s 23, by the way) and the family will lose the estate if he dies young (not the family wealth just the estate so this isn’t about survival).  So she attempts to bully him into marriage.  He gives that a ‘you first’ reply.  So the story is her willing to merc herself out to any eligible bachelor of society even a marriage where she can barely tolerate a guy just to keep her father’s collectibles and a house in the family.  Yeah, I really wasn’t buying it.  And in the process, I did find her a bully who stuck her nose in where it didn’t belong and formed short-sighted, prejudiced opinions.  And what in the Sam Hill was it with the being tall thing.  I swear a fourth of this book was about her height and everyone else’s.  It was like a fetish.

But the last nail in the coffin was the lack of romantic development.  It was just not there.  She crushed, she squirmed with attraction, and they fought a lot mostly because her observation and decision-making skills were squat, but there was no chemistry or solid evidence of love.  They didn’t even share much scene time if they weren’t fighting.

So, I finished this one because I respected the author, but didn’t more than mildly enjoy the story.  It’s an okay historical romance for me.


Romance Roundabout #140 HR
Literary Pickers #112 signet ring
New Release #71e


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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Quinn's Book Nook
4 years ago

I’ve never read Jo Beverley, but I do want to try out her books. I’m so sorry this was so dull. And the height thing would drive me nuts. I’m reading a book now about a women who is plus size. And seriously, it’s all she thinks about. And while I do understand her issues (I’m plus sized as well), he obsession with it is too much.

Sophia Rose
4 years ago

Yes, the plus size thing can become a fixation for a character in books I’ve read, too, Quinn. It was just like that except this gal was tall. It was irritating the way she went on and on to herself and others.

I usually love her books so this was the exception to the rule so I hope you get the chance to snag one, Quinn. 🙂

Angela @ Simply Angela

It’s been years since I’ve read a book by Jo Beverley. Sorry this one didn’t work out for you. I don’t think it would have been my cuppa tea, either.

Sophia Rose
4 years ago

Yeah, it was sad not to like her last one, but it was definitely not my cuppa either, Angela.

Melanie Simmons
4 years ago

Sorry this one didn’t work out for you. It isn’t fun when you have a romance story that is lacking in romance. Good luck with your next pick.

Melanie @ Hot Listens & Rabid Reads

Sophia Rose
4 years ago

Yes, exactly. LOL! Her last one just sparkled so I have to think it was declining health for this one.

Mary Kirkland
4 years ago

Sorry to hear you didn’t like this one as much as you wanted to.

Sophia Rose
4 years ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

Thanks, Mary. I did really want it since I knew it was her last one. I’ll have to re-read some older ones that I really loved.

Nadene@Ttly addicted 2 reading

I know how disappointing it can be, when you have issues with a book written by an author you hold in high esteem. I would have had the same problem too. A romance story that lacks romantic development, wow, That is definitely not good.

Sophia Rose
4 years ago

Thanks, Nadene! I was so sad as I got going on this one and realized it was just not a very good one for me.

Cyn @ Bookmunchies
4 years ago

Jo Beverly can be a bit of a hot or miss with me. That’s too bad this one didn’t work for you! Lackluster romance is definitely a big nail in the coffin. Hope your next read is better!

Sophia Rose
4 years ago

Thanks, Cyn! Yeah, I was really hoping, but there was just too much wrong with it for me.

Anna@herding cats&burning soup

I’m very sad about this one for so many reasons. I’ve had it for review and was saving it because…last book. But then I saw all the very very low reviews and haven’t been able to talk myself into reading it. 🙁

Sophia Rose
4 years ago

I think this one definitely happened during the illness and it was the last one and for that alone, I really wanted to push this one into the loved it column. But I just couldn’t. My issues went well beyond just moodiness on my part. Yeah, I saw all the low reviews, too. Maybe wait a bit and get some others out of the way and then come back… not sure.

Alyssa Susanna
4 years ago

I’ve heard this is her last book, right? I couldn’t believe it when I saw that. 🙁 I’ve never read any of her books but I kind of want to go on a Jo Beverley marathon. Maybe not this book though… I need lots and lots of romance, in a historical romance novel. O_O I’m sorry you didn’t totally love this book, Sophia!

Have a fantastic day. =)

Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

Sophia Rose
4 years ago
Reply to  Alyssa Susanna

Yes, this was her last one before she died last year so I really wanted to love it.

Oh fun, Alyssa. Maybe start with some of her earlier books. Her Georgian era, Mallorens and her Company of Rogues are good. I loved her four medieval ones, too. LOL, yeah, don’t start with this one.

BJ's Reviews
4 years ago

Oh well . . . I was thinking of possibly trying this book as a first for me from Jo Beverley. Perhaps I’ll wait for another now . . .

Thanks for the review Sophia!

Sophia Rose
4 years ago
Reply to  BJ's Reviews

Yeah, not the one to start with, BJ. This is the last of her books so you’ll want to go back to one of her earlier standalones or a first of series to experience her books. She’s a great writer.