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.
Much Ado About You
To say that I enjoy and find Eloisa James's novels wonderful reads does NOT even touch the surface of the complete bliss I have when reading her books. Her plots, characters, and prose are so genuinely beautiful. This is my second time reading this novel, and I have reread some of her other series as well. I have always felt that Shakespeare was a romantic and a little like Alfred Hitchcock. And so Eloisa Eloisahas these wonderful qualities that just make you want to keep reading through the night--even if you know what the ending will be, because there is that desire to hear her words speak to you until you have read that very last word.
A heartwarming story with characters who jump from the pages and pull you into their world (till the dryer buzzer sounds anyway). I love that this heroine has sisters who are also friends to back her up and fight with her as well. A real family. I actually cried at the sad parts.
I have to say that I have read LONG reviews of this series and originally passed it up for other of James' books. One reviewer complained about the faults of all the sisters, especially Imogen, but I find them all believable and totally human. I have every faith that they will all come right in the end and Immie will grow up and get the stick out of you-know-what .....so on to Kiss Me, Annabel.
I like to read series and this was really good.