When you're the oldest daughter, you don't get to have any fun!
Witty, orphaned Tess Essex faces her duty: marry well and marry quickly, so she can arrange matches for her three sisters -- beautiful Annabel, romantic Imogen and practical Josie. After all, right now they're under the rather awkward guardianship of the perpetually tipsy Duke of Holbrook. But just when she begins to think that all might end well, one of her sisters bolts with a horse-mad young lord, and her own fiancé just plain runs away.
Which leaves Tess contemplating marriage to the sort of man she wishes to avoid -- one of London's most infamous rakes. Lucius Felton is a rogue whose own mother considers him irredeemable! He's delicious, Annabel points out. And he's rich, Josie notes. But although Tess finally consents to marry him, it may be for the worst reason of all. Absurd as she knows it to be, she may have fallen utterly in love . . .
Reviewers have compared James's Regency-era romances (Your Wicked Ways, etc.) to Sex and the City, but her effervescent voice is somewhat subdued in this first installment of her new series, focusing on four squabbling sisters. After their father passes away, Tess, Imogen, Annabel and Josie Essex find themselves impoverished, uprooted and taken under the wing of a benevolent duke. As the eldest and most sensible, Tess decides she must marry so that she can help support her sisters. But who should she wed? Garret Langham, an earl who seems to admire, though not lust after, her? Or the untitled but ber-wealthy Lucius Felton, who hides his emotions behind a mask of cool civility, save for when he kisses her? Tess is mildly conflicted but generally content to go along with whatever fate throws her way, which makes her a less than inspiring heroine. What she lacks in character is more than made up for by Lucius, however, who possesses a quiet intensity and magnetic presence. The chemistry between the two easily overshadows the rather tenuous camaraderie that Tess and her sisters share. Sex and the City gals they are not; they bicker constantly and rarely connect on a sisterly or even friendly level. But though the book isn't as spry as James's earlier novels, it contains a romance that will induce sighs of satisfaction.
Not a big fan of this book, it was confusing and lacked any true character. I didn't know who was in love with who until late in the book.
Too much time introducing the new series and not enough one on one time. I don't fell like I knew any of them.