The Viscount Needs a Wife by Jo Beverley #Review

Posted April 8, 2016 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 16 Comments

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I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Viscount Needs a Wife by Jo Beverley #Review
The Viscount Needs a Wife

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Series: #17 Company of Rogues
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Signet
Released on April 5, 2016
Pages: 432
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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Once again the author tackles difficult subjects while offering an engaging romance and a teaser of a problem for the hero and heroine to solve.  It was captivating, thought provoking, and sigh-worthy.

This book can standalone easily.  For those who have read the older Company of Rogues books there will be familiar faces, but for those who have not, the story won’t feel like the reader is missing something.  The author added a note at the back that she is most definitely veering into new territory from now on out with the Rogues taking a back seat and new characters and their situations moving to the forefront.

Kitty Cateril has been a widow for two years and has been living with her late husband’s family on their country estate.  Her mother in law keeps everyone in the deepest mourning and it is slowly stifling young-hearted Kitty.  Kitty loved Marcus and grieved when he died, but her marriage had not been easy especially when wounded Marcus was in severe pain or his new helplessness got to him.  He was a man, war hero that he was, but not a saint.  Now she feels like she has to get away or go mad, but she has no where to go unless she accepts a position as a governess or companion.

A means of escape comes her way in an unorthodox manner.  Viscount Dauntry, is in need of a wife.  He is clear and precise about his expectations.  She will have the running of the Dauntry’s country estate and charge over the recalcitrant women folk of the former Viscount’s.  All this so he can live in town and go on with his life there.  Kitty has her reservations, but this is as good an opportunity to escape as any.  And maybe it won’t be so bad with an absentee husband and a difficult project to manage.

Braydon never wanted the Viscountcy and now he’s stuck with it.  He has the Fifth Viscount’s haughty, stubborn mother and the man’s sullen daughter hating that he now controls their future and has stepped into someone else’s shoes.  Braydon has work still to do for the Crown and he prefers city life, but he has to get the affairs of the estate, the smaller estates, and the family in order because he will not shirk duty even if he doesn’t like it.  He needs a wife and has no time to shop around town for one because there would be expectations.  The friend of the vicar’s wife seems ideal as describe- capable, responsible, widowed, no money or prospects, poor current situation that will make her willing to marry quickly… perfect.

And what Braydon gets is a fiery-haired, spontaneous, strong-willed woman who treats any discussion like a battle and, barriers like challenges.  But she is also giving and compassionate and full of life.  Too bad she won’t suit.  But…

Braydon, for the first time in his life, whimsically does the unexpected by bringing Kitty home as his bride.  What shouldn’t be now is and both of them feel the pull and the challenge to change the arrangements to something a bit more than convenient.

This one kept me off balance somewhat.  This story is a swirl of elements with a blend of history, mystery, and romance.  I don’t know if it was purposeful, but there were some sly references to young impressionable ladies reading too many gothic tales.  Northanger Abbey anybody?

The story is long, but it only lags a few times and not for long.  It takes some time establishing matters and developing the main plot, but there are a few subplots as well.

But, the story isn’t merely a romance with some history and mystery tossed in.  The themes of this story give it depth and they are true to the time and place of the post Napoleonic War and Regency era.  It addresses: people coming back from war broken in more than body, coming back to figuring out how to live in peace after war (No Vet organizations or hospitals or counselors), living with grief and how to properly mourn, how primogeniture of males inheriting titles and wealth can leave mothers, wives, and daughters fearful of their future, divorce and separation during that time, what it’s like to marry a practical stranger for a marriage of convenience, the hidden world behind closed doors of spousal abuse, women’s role in the marriage, home, and society.  So much gets touched on.

But probably the biggest draw are the two main characters- Kitty and Braydon.

Early on, I thought for sure that the heroine and I just were not going to suit.  She comes across a certain way and the reader is purposefully led to form these conclusions until the layers of Kitty’s past are revealed and suddenly her thought processes, warring nature, and prejudices make some sense.  Kitty is an independent, strong-willed woman.  This is a strength, but also a weakness for her because her temper and emotions lead her and, with all that indomitable will, she has to be careful to rein it in when a cool head is needed.  She formed an early impression of Braydon just as he did with her.  Both were mostly wrong, but also right.  Braydon tends to gather his facts before he speaks while Kitty makes facts fit her opinions.  So when Braydon calmly sets organized plans in motion without consulting her, but on the other hand, also hears her out and heeds her advice and words, it stops her in her tracks just like when Kitty’s intuitive and out of the box thinking comes into play, Braydon learns the value of her differences.

The marriage of convenience trope is handled well in this story.  I had no trouble believing in the romance because the author doesn’t rush it along and she makes sure the difficulties as well as the slow-build attraction are there.

It was an interesting dynamic that Kitty is a widow who tends to want to take charge in the bedroom just as she does in all other aspects of her life.  It occurs to her belatedly that Braydon also likes the leader role and might not prefer a wife as fiery and passionate in the bedroom.  She worries what impression this is making on Braydon especially since Braydon has encountered several military men who were part of the Kit Kat social club and remember her warmly to him and he finds her more than once in a circle of all men who obviously admire her.  But Braydon surprises her again in that he treasures her passion and shows her that he isn’t made of ice and marble like she thinks.  Watching them get to know each other and appreciate each other is the best part of this story.

There were some family secrets that are nosed out and Braydon has a mission.  The family secrets and Kitty’s investigation were more interesting than Braydon’s.  Truthfully, I found the investigation he had to conduct was the least interesting part of the book and I was eager to get back to other things.

And for those who are Rogues fans, there were some appearances, Hal and Blanche, Stephen and Laura, and Charrington.  Briefly in a few scenes with no big roles, but fun to spot them.

In summary, I found this a compelling historical romance that had unique elements, engaging characters, and spicy slow-burn romance.

My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #131 HR

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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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Debbie Haupt
5 years ago

wow sounds like a win-win Sophia Rose, thanks for sharing! And I LOVE the cover

Sophia Rose
5 years ago
Reply to  Debbie Haupt

It is a stunning cover, Debbie!

5 years ago

I haven’t read this author in is shameful. I love the depth and that she made you swoon!

Sophia Rose
5 years ago

Yes, I’ve had a few authors like that. Just so many that it’s hard to keep up.

I did like how this one gave more balance between the history and the romance than many do these days.

5 years ago

I don’t think I’ve read this author yet. Looks like I need to catch up. Book 17?

Sophia Rose
5 years ago
Reply to  Lekeisha

Haha, yes, she’s been writing for a few decades now.

Mary Kirkland
5 years ago

Haven’t read this author but I don’t read much of this genre these days. Glad to her you liked it.

Sophia Rose
5 years ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

She’s one of my favs so it’s always fun to see a new release.

5 years ago

I like that cover, how I wish I could wear it 😉

Sophia Rose
5 years ago
Reply to  Blodeuedd

Gorgeous gown and bright cape. The cape plays a part in the story which is neat to see it on the cover.

Anna@herding cats&burning soup

Ahh another I’m just peeking at. Another I’ve not quite managed to read yet. lol But yay for the good rating!

Sophia Rose
5 years ago

Yes, this one will be interesting to see how other people rate it and think of it.

Lover Of Romance
5 years ago

oh I so need to pick this one up since I haven’t read this author in ages.I love some good family secrets.

Sophia Rose
5 years ago

There are some good ones, Renee. 🙂

5 years ago

love the cover

Sophia Rose
5 years ago
Reply to  dholcomb1

It is a gorgeous cover, Denise. And the way she is describe in the story along with her cloak is much like this which was neat.