Sunday, February 3, 2013

Review: A Marriage Made in Mayfair by Tamara Gill (e-novella)

After a disastrous first season, Suzanna fled to Paris in order to gain some polish. She's come back to England, confident and beautiful -- and intent on exacting revenge on the man who humiliated her.

Royce, Viscount Danning, hadn't realized that Suzanna overheard the argument with his brother -- and didn't realize the far-reaching implications of his words and his actions. (He had unknowingly given Suzanna the cut direct.)

Now he is in dire straits and is a step away from going to prison for his debts. In order to save his estate, he must marry an heiress.

And fate brings him face to face with Suzanna.

He'd observed her from afar last year and had been fascinated by her innocence and freshness. He hadn't meant to say those cruel words in the heat of the moment but is now determined to make amends. He offers to restore Suzanna's reputation by escorting her around.

Suzanna's resolve melts under Royce's attentions but, when she finds out Royce's heiress hunting plan, she doubts his sincerity: does he love her? Or does he love her money?

I was a bit confused with Royce's reaction to Suzanna's accusation: the first time, he approached Suzanna and acted as though he had no idea what she was talking about.

"I'm sorry, my lord, but I cannot understand why you are here talking to me. All you wished to say was more than adequately said last season, if I recall."

The colour drained from Lord Danning's face, leaving him a pasty shade of white. "Forgive me, Miss March. I was merely being polite. This is my ball, if you recall, and I do try to keep up with my duties as the host."

Suzanna smiled with no warmth behind the gesture. "Oh, I'm sure you were, my lord, but where your manners are concerned I care not."

"You're angry with me." Lord Danning paused, his gaze speculative. "Why?"
- loc. 171-181

Then, it seemed he knew what Suzanna was talking about.

"I wronged her last year and wish to make amends. I've always admired her person. It is just unfortunate she cannot choose her relatives."
- loc 320

Then, again not.

She tried to move about him, and he clasped her arms to hold her still. Her skin, the colour of alabaster, was soft under his hands. Her upper arms were so slight he was able to wrap his hands fully about them. "I am not a cad. I may have certain rakish wiles but I'm not a cad." At her shocked gasp over his words, he frowned. "Why don't you like me?"
- loc 632

Then, finally, he understood.

"You were so rude to me last season. You cut me stone dead in the ballroom before so many people. Why did you do it? I thought we were friends."

Royce pulled her toward a settee and sat. "It wasn't you I was mad at. You found me at an unfortunate moment. My behaviour was not gentlemanly, and I apologize for the pain I caused you. I never meant to hurt you, or make you believe I thought you beneath me because of your family connections."
- loc 651

I didn't like Royce in the beginning -- he was self-absorbed and self-important -- too concerned with fashion and appearances. His transformation is part of the story -- but I didn't see the catalyst for such a change. It felt too sudden. But, when he realized he was going to lose Suzanna because of his recklessness, I appreciated the honorable way he handled the situation.

I also loved the insight into London society: the ton itself consists of "good" ton and others. Suzanna tried to move in the same circles as Royce and Lady Victoria but found herself enjoying more the company and friendship of those considered "not good" ton.

"In all honesty, I came because Sir Blyth is one of my oldest and dearest friends. We attended Cambridge together."


"You're surprised?" he asked, mirth visible in his dark-blue orbs.

Suzanna shrughed. "Of course I am, my lord. I wouldn't have thought," she said in a lowered voice, "Sir Blyth was deemed good ton."

"He isn't, by high society's standards but by mine, of couse."
- loc 564-574

It gives readers a sense of how difficult it was for people like Suzanna to navigate the waters of London society and to figure out their place, considering the hierarchy in place.

On the whole, I can say that the author has a good sense of the story but lacked consistency. I am also very interested in the side story between Suzanna's dearest friend, Lady Victoria and Suzanna's brother, Henry. I hope Tamara Gill writes about them. ^_^

To find out more about Tamara Gill and her books, visit her website. She's also on Facebook.

Disclosure: I won this copy in a giveaway.



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