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A Kiss for Lady Mary
By Ella Quinn
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2015 Ella Quinn
All rights reserved.
The Honorable Mr. Christopher "Kit" Featherton, heir to Viscount Featherton, waited behind a young gentleman at the entrance to Almack's. The other man was patting his suit, desperately searching for something. Kit, as he was known to his family and close friends, stepped around the individual, gave his hat, coat, and cane to a footman before addressing Mr. Willis, Almack's gatekeeper. "Good evening, Willis."
The older man bowed. "Good evening, sir. Her ladyship and Miss Featherton arrived not long ago."
"Thank you, Willis."
As Kit strolled into the assembly room, the young man complained, "I don't see why you didn't ask him for his voucher."
"Mr. Featherton is well known to us and all in the ton" Willis replied sternly. "You, sir, are not."
Kit couldn't help but feel bad for the gentleman, but the patronesses of Almack's were extremely particular about who gained admission to the rarified assembly rooms. He lifted his quizzing glass, surveying the attendees. Unfortunately, the one person he'd hoped to find was not present, and had not been for two years.
"Mr. Featherton, precise as a pin as usual." A light hand touched his sleeve. Lady Jersey, one of Almack's several patronesses, or Silence as she was called because she rarely ceased talking, smiled up at him. "Would you be so kind as to ask one of the young ladies to stand up with you?"
He inclined his head. Her ladyship had no need to ask. Unlike many gentlemen, he would do his duty. "Naturally. Is there anyone in particular?"
"Yes, Miss Caudle. The young lady in green next to the lady with the large red feather in her turban. She is painfully shy. I shall introduce you."
A few moments later Kit led the girl to join the group of gentlemen and ladies making up a set for a country dance. Bending his head slightly, he said, "Don't let anyone frighten you. This is really no different from your assemblies at home. You have only to stop worrying and you'll be fine."
A smile trembled on the girl's lips, and she nodded tersely. "Thank you."
Miss Caudle was light on her feet, managing the complicated steps perfectly. In a few moments, she began to enjoy herself. After the set he was pleased to see other men lining up to beg her to dance with them.
He made his way to his mother and sister Meg.
"That was well done of you, Kit." Meg grinned, and nodded to indicate Miss Caudle. "She was so afraid of doing something wrong, and I didn't know how to reassure her."
"I was glad to help. Do you require a dance partner?"
"No, mine is coming now." His sister's eyes twinkled. "Although if you could arrange to have Lord Beaumont ask me, I'd be forever in your debt."
"I hate to disappoint you, but there is only one reason he is attending." He motioned with his head to where his friend was standing next to a stunning woman with auburn hair.
"Oh, I know. Unfortunately, Lady Serena is too nice to be jealous of."
Kit glanced around to see a tall gentleman a few years younger than himself approach. "Swindon."
"Featherton." The new Earl of Swindon gave a short nod, before turning to Meg. "My dance, I believe."
His sister held out her hand and curtseyed. "Indeed it is, my lord."
After Meg left, he raised a brow to his mother. "Now that would be a good match, if he wasn't such a cold fish."
Mama gave her head an imperceptible shake. "She will pick when she's ready, and not before." She focused her steady blue gaze on him. "I'm much more concerned about you. It is all very well for you to be the perfect gentleman, but is there no lady who interests you?"
He did not want to have this conversation now. "Perhaps you have a lady in mind?"
Her lips thinned. "You know perfectly well how I feel about matchmaking mamas. I shall not be one."
Thankfully, Lady Cowper, another patroness, intruded. "Mr. Featherton, I wonder ..."
"I'll be happy to, ma'am."
He spent the rest of the evening doing the pretty, then retired to his rooms on Jermyn Street. Evening shoes off, brandy in hand, Kit stared into the fire. Until this past year, he might have gone to his club and enjoyed a night cap or two with his friends. But now they were mostly married. Late nights drinking brandy couldn't compete with the soft, warm arms of their wives. The others were either out of Town, or pursuing their lady loves.
Kit heaved a sigh. His mother was right. It was past time he'd thought of marriage. Still there was only one lady it had ever occurred to him to ask, and he hadn't seen her in a couple of years. Even then, she'd appeared in Town only briefly. Surely if she'd wed, he would have heard. Perhaps he should make a serious effort to track down Barham and asked him where his sister was.
September 1816, near Market Harborough, England
Lady Mary Tolliver heaved a sigh of relief. She'd been at her brother, the Earl of Barham's, dower house with her grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Bridgewater, and her widowed aunt, Lady Eunice Phipson, for two weeks now. Thankfully there was still no sign of her cousin, Gawain Tolliver. Perhaps he'd finally given up attempting to compromise her. She'd been taking her regular walks after breakfast for the past week. But this morning she had remembered advice given to her by a friend to vary her schedule as long as Gawain was after her and had decided to go earlier.
She was about a half mile from the house when a familiar male voice asked, "How much longer?"
Mary stopped and scanned the woods. Suddenly, the dark green she'd taken for leaves ruffling in the slight breeze moved revealing a jacket.
Blast it all! It was Gawain, and she'd almost stepped into his trap.
She'd known her luck wouldn't hold. She slipped behind a tree, and listened.
"About another half hour," a man with a rougher voice answered.
"Have the coach ready," Gawain ordered. "I want to get away as soon as we grab her."
She backed up carefully, keeping the dense foliage between herself and her cousin, until she could no longer see Gawain clearly.
"Did you hear something?"
Mary stifled a groan. How far was it to the house, and could she outmaneuver them? She glanced around. It was eight, maybe nine, feet to the old oak tree where, as a child, she'd won many a game of hide and seek. Gathering her skirts, she dashed to it and hid in the hollow part of the trunk. Gawain would have to know exactly where to look to see her. Still, she could not remain in the tree all day. She would have to hope they gave up waiting for her and left, planning to return another day.
"Nah, sir, just a deer or something."
Several minutes later, Mary shifted and dirt fell around her. This space had been far more commodious when she'd been younger. Something landed on her arm and began to crawl. Stifling a scream, she swatted at it, dislodging more debris. Her heart thudded, making it hard for her to breathe. It was certain her cousin wouldn't leave until at least the time when she normally passed by. She would just have to run. As they began to converse again, she picked up her skirts and dashed out of the home wood. Once she reached the outer part of the curtilage she raced through the rose garden, staying off the flagstone and gravel paths to the nearest door and darted in.
"My lady," Cook exclaimed. "You look like the devil hisself is after you." The old woman narrowed her eyes. "What have you got into? Shake out your skirts before you come in any farther. Is that a dead spider on your arm?"
Mary leaned back against the door, sucking in great gulps of air as she caught her breath. "That might be an apt description." She briefly considered asking Cook not to tell Grandmamma, but that would only insure her grandmother heard about it sooner. "I'll be down for breakfast as soon as I wash my hands."
"No rush, Lady Eunice isn't down yet either."
Attempting to avoid her grandmother and aunt, Mary made her way up the servants' stairs to her chamber.
Her maid, Mathers, was waiting. "I saw you tearing across the garden, my lady. Did your cousin show up?"
"Yes." Mary's shoulders drooped as she removed her damaged bonnet. "I'll not have any more long walks now."
Somehow she'd have to find a way to avoid him for good, or at least until she could fall in love and wed.
"Thought it was too good to go on for long," Mathers said, as she took a sprigged muslin morning gown out of the wardrobe. "If you ask me, someone ought to do something about him."
"Someone" ought to be the eldest of Mary's brothers, the Earl of Barham. Unfortunately, he was much too good natured, not to mention concerned about scandal.
"When pigs fly," she mumbled.
"Did you say something, my lady?"
"Nothing of import." It was a shame there were no convents in England. She could hide in one of them rather than moving from estate to estate. Then again, it would be hard to meet an eligible gentleman, or indeed any gentleman at all, in a convent. On the other hand, it was proving impossible to meet a suitor under her current circumstance. "I wonder what Grandmamma will come up with this time."
A couple of days later, Mary joined her grandmother and aunt in the dower house's elegant but cozy morning room. Small paintings and miniatures encompassing generations of Tollivers covered the walls and surfaces. In the Queen Anne style, the furniture was old, but comfortable.
Long windows gave a view over the rose garden and the marble fountain in its center. The curtains had recently been changed from the velvet used during the colder seasons to a cerulean blue watered silk trimmed with gold braid. Even though they were experiencing one of their few warm days this spring, a log spat and popped in the fireplace.
In fact, the only disturbing part of the normally tranquil atmosphere was the conversation.
Doing her best to keep her jaw from dropping in shock, Mary stared at her grandmother. The older woman's thick silver hair was fashionably dressed, and even at more than seventy years of age, her face held few lines. Her gaze seemed as sharp as ever. Generally she was the picture of health, except for this recent burst of incipient insanity, for that was all it could be.
Mary opened her mouth, then closed it again. Several moments passed in silence as she struggled to make sense of what she thought she'd heard. After rejecting retorts such as, Grandmamma, are you feeling quite well? Or, are you sure you wouldn't like a nice room in Bedlam? And finally unable to come up with another way to ask her question, she simply voiced the nicest thought in her mind. "Surely I have not understood you properly. You want me to do what?"
"Well, I think it's a wonderful idea."
Mary shifted her gaze to her aunt. Perhaps madness had always run in the family and it had been kept a secret so as not to ruin them socially. After all, who would deliberately marry into a family where lunacy was rampant?
"He has a face like a fish." Aunt Eunice opened her eyes wide and moved her lips in a fair imitation of a fish.
"Hake." Grandmamma nodded decisively. "It's the way his eyes protrude."
Mary closed her eyes, repressing a shudder. "I agree, but surely there must be less drastic measures I can take."
Grandmamma leaned forward and pounded her silver-headed cane on the floor. "He may look like a fool, my girl, but he's canny, and, if what Cook told me is true"—Mary should have expected that—"which I have no doubt it is, he almost caught you a few days ago."
"Yes, well." Not the cleverest of replies. Surely, she could think of something more to say. "I got away from him," she ended lamely.
"This time." Grandmamma's lips thinned. She rammed the cane into the thick Turkey rug again.
"And every other time previously." Mary let out a frustrated huff. Unfortunately, her grandmother did have a point. It was becoming more and more difficult to evade her cousin. "Did Barham receive an answer to his last letter to Uncle Hector?"
After a few moments, during which Grandmamma turned so red it appeared as if she would have apoplexy, Aunt Eunice replied, "Yes. But it won't serve. Barham said Hector continues to insist your father promised you would marry Gawain, and he will not release your funds until either the marriage takes place—"
"In which case that spendthrift, Gawain," Mary almost growled, the anger in her voice surprising her, "would control everything."
Thus far she'd been satisfied to allow her brother to handle the whole ridiculous situation. Truth be known, she'd been so battered by her parents' successive deaths, she hadn't wanted to deal with it. Yet when Gawain had followed her to London for her first Season in two years and tried to compromise her, she had been jolted out of her complacency.
"Or you turn five and twenty."
Her aunt's voice interrupted her silent railing. "I'm sorry. What did you say?"
"When the trust ends," Eunice replied patiently.
Another two years of trying to evade Gawain. "Has there been any movement in our Chancery suit to replace my uncle as trustee?"
Eunice shook her head.
"Unless you plan to spend the next two years inside the house," Grandmamma said, emphasizing her speech with another loud thump of her cane, "you will do as your aunt and I advise."
Mary eyed the silver headed stick. What would her grandmother do if she hid it? Still, what they were suggesting was complete insanity. "But I—"
"He's found you everywhere we've tried to hide you, my dear." Eunice stared at Mary, a compassionate look on her face. "Drastic times call for drastic measures."
Mary slowly shook her head. "I don't think I could pretend to be someone else for that long a time."
"But you won't have to pretend." Her aunt beamed. "That is the brilliance of the plan! You can be yourself ... with a slight change in your last name for the time being."
This—they were impossible. Mary threw her hands up in frustration. "And what, pray tell, am I to do if the gentleman who owns the property discovers my deception? Anyone could find out, then I would be completely ruined and no one would want to marry me."
"Don't you trust me?" Grandmamma raised one brow in the way she always did when she wanted to badger others to her way of thinking.
Mary seriously considered answering in the negative, not that it would help. Grandmamma was a force of her own. Why else would Barham allow her to remain here when she had a perfectly good dower house of her own at Bridgewater?
"Most of the time," Mary answered, drawing the sentence out.
Though now wasn't one of them.
"We've been very careful," her grandmother said as calmly as if she were choosing a dinner menu, "to select a remote area where there are no important families."
There was something very wrong about all of this. "May I ask who the owner is?"
Her grandmother waved her hand as if dismissing her question. "The less you know for time being, the safer you'll be if Gawain comes sniffing around."
"Besides"—Eunice's already wide smile broadened—"I'll be with you acting as your companion. It will be such a lark."
Mary stifled a groan. All the cousins had heard about Eunice's larks. She'd been the youngest and wildest of Grandmamma's children, and had apparently not outgrown her previous tendencies. Mary had to find a way out of this harebrained scheme. "Won't your children wonder where you are?"
"Oh, after a while, I suppose." Eunice shrugged lightly. "But they'll think I'm with Mama and probably be happy I'm not around to corrupt their children." She took a sip of wine. "How Roger—the greatest rake in England and on the Continent, before our marriage of course—and I ever managed to produce such dullards, I shall never know."
Those were also tales Mary and her brothers had grown up hearing, at least the ones mild enough to tell children. She never had understood how her aunt had been allowed to wed Uncle Roger. "I think that type of thing skips a generation."
"One can only pray it is not gone forever." Eunice sighed.
"So then." Grandmamma tapped her cane for at least the fourth time. Mary's fingers itched to grab the thing away and throw it in the fireplace. "It's decided. We'll leave early tomorrow morning."
"That soon!" Mary had to stall them. Given just a little more time, she might be able to think of a better scheme. "It seems a little precipitous."
"Better to get it done before you have a chance to change your mind." Eunice rose, smoothing out her skirts. "I must see to my packing."
Excerpted from A Kiss for Lady Mary by Ella Quinn. Copyright © 2015 Ella Quinn. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Lady Mary Tolliver has been hounded by her cousin ever since her parents had passed away. Knowing that he was only after her money, she is determined to stay out of his parson's trap. Having been nearly caught once again, Mary gives into her family's scheme to keep her save. She doesn't know if she can pull of being mistress of an estate where everyone thinks she is married to the owner. When Christopher "Kit" Featherton finds out that someone is impersonating a wife he doesn't have, he is determined to set the woman in her place. Finding the one woman who he has ever contemplated marrying in his home, he decides to see how things progress. Can't they convince everyone that they really are married? What happens when Kit decides that he wants a marriage in truth? Those of you that have read my other reviews of books by Ella Quinn, know that I have a love/hate relationship with her writing. I generally enjoy the stories, but something about her writing just turns me off. I didn't get that with this book. I got a little frustrated with the characters at times (seriously, just kiss each other!!!), but that happens with most love stories you read. I did thoroughly love the two matchmakers in this story!! I love that they concocted this idea to bring their two family members together. I also felt like I got a 3 for 1 with this story as there were two side romances along the way. I look forward to Quinn's next book in the series, which comes out in July. Thanks go out to Kensington Books via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
This book contains a shy heroine, and a hero who does everything correctly - he is known as Mr Perfect, so this leads to misunderstandings and frustration on both accounts. Mary is a shy woman whos's gold digging cousin is trying to compromise her whenever he can, in order for her to have to marry him so that he gets her dowery. So her grandmother and aunt come up with a plan for her to hide away and pretend to be married to the owner of the house that they hide her in, because the owner 'never' goes there. Christopher (Kit) Featherton is a handsome, charming man and heir to a Viscount and he does not want to marry. Kit had met Lady Mary Tolliver during the last season and knew that she was the only lady to hold his attention, even though they did not really talk. So he tries to sought her out during the next season and is unable to see her anywhere. He was about to ask Mary's brother where she is when he hears that there is a woman living in his house claiming to be his wife - he is not amused and sets off to sort out the misunderstanding. Mary has had to lie to the servants at the home she is staying in- pretending to be the masters wife, her relatives have not told her who owns the house and when 'Kit' strolls in asking for answers - she is shocked to realise that it his his home. When Kit realises its HIS Mary and hears why she is living a pretence, he sets out to help her. Thanks to friends - even though neither Mary or Kit take their advice for fear of rejection, matchmaking grandmothers and a rogue or two, this story is a lovely historical romance, there is a sub plot in this book to which I loved as it gave the story added extra depth.
Don't like to ruin readers expectations so all I will say is that if you like a LONG sweet romantic story you will enjoy this read. Enjoy...
A kiss, just one kiss. It can mean nothing or everything. Lady Mary Tolliver has been on the run for some time. Her goofy, money obsessed cousin Gawain (seriously, Gawain) has been trying to compromise Mary to get his hands on her dowry money. Mary's Grandmother & her close friends have been helping Mary hide and have decided if she marries all will end well. These amazing ladies are the best matchmakers ever, they don't miss a trick. Think of master chess players, seven moves ahead. Our hero is the Honorable (very) Christopher "Kit" Featherton and the Grandson of one of our matchmakers. Poor guy, he's doomed. Kit learns someone has moved into one of his estates and it's Mrs. Featherton?. Kit is pretty sure he isn't married so what's up. When he discovers who his "wife" is he's pretty pleased. He's still put out with old ladies but then again they've sent him to the one woman he can see a future with. When he hears the whole story he understands his "wife" must marry him or risk total ruination. Lady Mary doesn't think our Kit is interested in her since he won't even kiss her. With the help of friends and the Grandmothers Mary plots a trip to Scotland for their marriage mart season. She may be resigned to spinsterhood but her heart still wants true love and a family. Kit's got a tough time ahead of him but he must convince Mary that he's the man for her. Their future happiness depends on success. There are side stories that work perfectly with this story and the Marriage Game series. Ella Quinn has included lovely secondary characters and some will pop up along the trail of the series. I hope you decide to partake of the Marriage Game series. They're wonderfully written and flow well from one book to another but each stands up alone very nicely. As I always write, happy endings are a must. We'd revolt if it didn't happen. Enjoy and happy reading.
Ella Quinn delightfully reveals yet another troubling hurdle to the Game of Marriage with “A Kiss for Lady Mary”; this number 7 book in her series The Marriage Game. On the outset, the story of Viscount “Kit” Featherton and Lady Mary Tolliver seems simply to be a foregone conclusion of boy meets girl in her First Season, they like each other and live happily-ever-after. However, the story ends with a stilted First Season in which they are secretly “taken” with each other and only resumes again three years later. What has happened to their initial mutual attraction during this time? Not much. Lady Mary mysteriously doesn’t appear in London for any subsequent Seasons and Kit does not pursue her because he is concerned about the scandalous appearance of doing so. They are stuck. Unlike the characters of previous books in The Marriage Game, we have two main characters who seem to have completely unblemished pasts, few secrets to hide, no ulterior motives to put forth, and no grand schemes to coax each other into matrimony. Maybe this is the cause of their internal impasse and subsequent passivity. But thankfully, there are external forces at work. There is conniving going on behind the scenes by their grandmothers, who like Greek gods have a propensity for playing matchmaker for their children and grandchildren. But is this really conniving or is it creating opportunities for the couple that they can’t seem to find for themselves? Their manipulation of events that bring Kit and Mary together coupled with the complicity of Kit’s and Mary’s friends allows them to “set the stage” and nudge both Kit and Mary into each other’s arms. After all, sometimes people’s destinies need to be placed in front of them before they can actually take advantage of it. Their last obstacle to their happy ending is usually the beginning for all the other couples of the previous books: The Kiss The “Kiss” becomes the litmus test, the major hurdle to overcome; the insurmountable event that once broached will be the key to unlocking their feelings. Both Mary and Kit are frozen with fear of this first kiss or its absence. He because a kiss represents losing control, disrespecting his ideal of her. She because a kiss represents potential for a mutual attraction and if it’s good will lead to happiness but if it’s bad will condemn her to misery. It’s important to remember that in their day and age and socio-economic group, kissing was reserved only for and by those intended to marry (and if witnessed publicly forced to marry). With so much riding on this one event, it is easy to find oneself enthusiastically cheering from the armchair for these two very likeable, truly charitable individuals. And happily, “nice” people do finish first. Even if it takes a little time and help.
Kit and Mary's story was another very entertaining book. Mary having to hide from her conniving cousin and matchmaking grandmothers the story keeps you enthralled. The friends and families of the previous series books are also included to liven up everything.
Once again, Ella Quinn wins my heart! Lovely story and wonderful characters...that I totally LOVE! Though frustrated with the "misunderstandings" it is what makes Ella's books a joy to read. If you haven't read any of her other books, get to it! They are all a great read!
Love the story and sense of romance...this series is wonderful!
The things done for family. By his own admission, Mary's cousin Gawain didn't even want to marry her. But he pursued her because of his mother. Admirable as that may be, it made me question the man's ability to be his own person. I understood his wanting to see his mother happy, but he wasn't responsible for her happiness. She was. Mary's fruitless attempts at thwarting her cousin hadn't been very successful, and running away gets tiring. Her aunt and grandma want to remedy that situation, take her someplace safe where her cousin won't find her. They succeed, but for how long and at what cost? She's posing as the wife of a man she admired, Mr. Perfect as she called him, yet she knows the ruse won't last long. After all, a man like Kit Featherton is sure to question her motives when he discovers what she's doing at his family home. Kit is hardly Mr. Perfect. He's impeccable in his manners and habits and regards toward Mary, but he's flawed like everyone else. He neglected Rose Hill, where Mary's been residing, and has no idea how to tell her how he feels or what he wants from her. Everything he could ever want in a wife is there in Mary's eyes, her arms, but he's slow to even kiss her. Now, Kit's and Mary's grandmas concocted this scheme. Mary's aunt helped them execute it. The road to happiness for some isn't always smooth, and Kit and Mary had their fair share of problems. Aside from Kit assuring his staff at Rose Hill as well as his tenants that he wasn't there to run Mary off, they still had to unravel the mystery of Gawain's whereabouts and why he insisted on marrying Mary. This isn't a spicy story. It's sensuality at its best, a welcome change for this avid reader. I love hot sexy books as much as anyone else I know, but sometimes a girl just needs slow, sweet, and steady. I've not read any other books in this series, but that didn't matter because this is a standalone and reads like a dream. Kit and Mary, along with their family and friends, made this a really enjoyable story. It is slow to start but hang in there. If you do, I hope you like it as much as I did. (Received from NetGalley via Tasty Book Tours for an honest review)
Excellent addition to this wonderful series. Sera has been having recurring nightmares and when her stalker shows up in the real world there is only one person she trusts to allow into her dreams. Harlen drops everything to go to Sera, will their past get in the way of finder her stalker? Great read, lots of mystery and intrigue in this paranormal world where a nightmare can become all too real. Fast paced and I loved the chemistry between Harlen and Sera. Loved it!
The second I have read in this series, A Kiss for Lady Mary feels solidly Regency in era, and carries some of the hallmarks of earlier works in this genre of the time: heroes and heroines are more timid and less bold, a villain that isn’t very good at his chosen line of work, familial interference and meddling and a sweet romance, often lastly occurring to the characters themselves. Ella Quinn managed to deliver all of those elements and more, in this slower-growing story that has Mary and Kit at its center. Mary is being stalked/threatened by her cousin Gawain, intent on marrying her for her not unsubstantial fortunes. Still unmarried and reaching the age where she will be firmly on the shelf, she’s frustrated that she has not found love, and the constant upheaval and roadblocks from her cousin have added to her difficulties. Fortunately, she has a meddling grandmother who is willing to, with cooperation and collaboration, move her to the country and establish her in an estate, far away from grasping hands. But, that estate, although unoccupied, is owned by Kit, and word reaches him that his wife has made quite a stir. He’s less upset by the estate being managed well than his obvious lack of wife, so he goes to investigate. Mary and Kit are just two honestly too nice for their own good people that are unwilling to cause distress to their families or society by behaving inappropriately. So, they often do not do anything that could be misconstrued as scandalous, which means forward progress in their relationship, indeed in their following their own wishes is often painfully slow. Fortunately, frequent appearances by the cousin-cum-worst villain ever, other characters from earlier installments in the story and the grandmothers stirring the pot keep readers moving forward even as Kit and Mary move at a snail’s pace. There is a solid attraction there, but they are very much OF their time, and truly honorable people, that neither is bold enough to make a move for a very long time. Far from action packed the story wanders about and often steps off into unexpected directions as we check back in with Kit and Mary on their slow journey to an HEA. Light and easy to read, with plenty of moments to make you laugh or smile, and the appearance of characters from earlier books in the series give readers plenty to enjoy. A great rainy weekend read. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
*I received this ARC via Netgallery* A Kiss for Lady Mary started off as your quintessential regency romance. There was an "old school" feel to this work that was engaging. Unfortunately the book started to lag a little over half way through and it felt as if everyone but Mary was receiving kisses. The author sidetracked the story in such a way at mid point that the main characters at hand, Kit and Mary, were neglected and a completely different storyline that would have been better left to another book began. While Ella Quinn's writing was fine her runaway storyline detracted from what could have been a highly enjoyable read.
Ella has given her readers another awesome book! She has come up with a multi story plot. It sure was a lot of story lines crossing each other. She has developed Mary and Kit into 2 strong yet unsure couple. They each like the other but are afraid of being turned away. Mary has a stalker. Spoiler. Their grandmothers plan to marry them. Then they meet Morna and her young daughter at a ball. She is trying to marry her at 16. She was married off at 16 herself. She lost the love of her life and there are lots of Spoilers here. I lliked this book. It was hard to get away from. There were twists and turns to surprise you including the Spoilers. I really hope you take the time to read this book. It is well worth your while. Don't let this one get away!
Lucinda, Dowager Viscountess Featherton and her lifelong friend, Constance, Dowager Duchess of Bridgewater are two delightfully scheming grandmothers set on pairing their grandchildren up with one another. Lucinda’s grandson, Christopher (Kit) is heir to Viscount Featherton and Constance’s granddaughter, Lady Mary Tolliver is a lovely young woman waiting to reach the age of 25 when she can receive her inheritance from her deceased parents. Kit is an extremely well-mannered and handsome gentleman whom hostesses love to invite to soirees. He has the capability of being introduced to shy young debutantes, ask them to dance and put them at ease thus giving them the confidence they need. Kit has finally realized that all of his friends are getting married and starting families and he has decided to follow suit. Having met the lovely Lady Mary in the past, he is hoping to seek her out as he would like to pursue her for his bride. Lady Mary has not had an easy time waiting for her inheritance. Her cousin Gawain Tolliver has done everything in his power to try and get the chance to compromise her so she will have to marry him and give him access to her inheritance. He has made her life miserable as she is always having to hide out from him. Her grandmother came up with the idea to secret her away to Rose Hill, property of Kit Featheron, where she could pose as Lady Mary Featherton. She has been quite successful at this for some time now and with the help of her widowed aunt living with her, she has always made vast improvements to the home, grounds and the accounts as well. Imagine Kit’s surprise when he goes looking for Mary and finds her posing as his wife. How perfect this is because he truly does want to marry her. But now, he must pay court to her properly and win her love. A true gentleman to a fault, Mary is not convinced he really loves her because he has not kissed her. Can they open up to one another and find true love? This was a clever novel. I admit having a hard time keeping up with all of the names of the characters and there were a lot of them! However, the story is a bit different from many others which offers a refreshing change.
A Kiss for Lady Mary contains a stalker gold-digging cousin, sneaky matchmaking old ladies and two stubborn headstrong young people. Ella Quinn wrote a story that is a mixture of romance, adventure and secrets. Central characters Mary and Kit have always had hidden feelings for one another. The matchmakers(Mary’s grandmother, Kit’s mother and friend) concoct a scheme that will kill two birds with one stone. Protect Mary from her unscrupulous cousin and bring Kit and Mary one step closer to admitting their feelings. The story starts off a little slow but it is an enchanting read and quite funny in some areas. I received an ARC of this book for an honest review.
Read...A Kiss for Lady Mary written by Ella Quinn Synopsis... Ella Quinn’s bachelors do as they like and take what they want. But when the objects of their desire are bold, beautiful women, the rules of the game always seem to change… Handsome, charming, and heir to a powerful Viscount, Christopher "Kit" Featherton is everything a woman could want—except interested in marriage. So when he hears that someone on his estate near the Scottish border is claiming to be his wife, Kit sets off to investigate. Since her parents’ death, Lady Mary Tolliver has been hounded by her cousin, a fortune-hunting fool after her inheritance. Refusing to settle for anything less than love, Mary escapes to the isolated estate of rakish bachelor, Kit Featherton. Knowing he prefers Court to the country, she believes she will be safe. But when Kit unexpectedly returns, her pretend marriage begins to feel seductively real… My thoughts: Sitting here with a cup of coffee at my side, my spectacles at the ready, a pencil in my hand, a wee bit of white chocolate bar and the book, 'A Kiss For Lady Mary' written by Ella Quinn. I always write down five words that pertain to my understanding and thoughts as I process in my mind the novel I am reading. Words that best describe to me what the story is foretelling, the emotions evoked by the author's storytelling. I take delight in circling sentences that I find intriguing, funny or descriptive...you know, captivating! I also write my thoughts within the pages of the novel. My first word...Humor: Greatly appreciated throughout this novel, from Lady Mary's thoughts on how to deal with her grandmamma and aunt's schemes, to Kit's responses toward Lady Mary's first meeting with him, also, the joking of Quinn's bachelors' toast of congratulations. Intelligence: Clever, conspiring and caring women within the pages of this novel; grandmammas, maids, cooks, Lady Mary's friends and including Lady Mary, herself. Camaraderie: A jovial sight to see as I read the friendships among the men, the staff of loyal servants, the lasting loving relationship that the grandmothers have, the family bond willing to support each other in times of need, even the community in the village of Rosebury held a special protective bond for Lady Mary. Longing: A wanting for wife and family and a home filled with love. I could empathise with the hero and heroine. especially as Lady Mary planted her rose garden. Then with, Aunt Eunice and Brian's love for each other. Introduction: A pleasure in reading the introducion of secondary characters into play, willing to abet even though they themselves had troubles of their own. Wee vignettes were strategically placed, smoothly interweaved and I was entranced as each new character became involved. Brava for introducing Uncle Hector in a timely and unique manner! And the names of all the characters were refreshing indeed, for I was unfamiliar with the spelling and pronunciation! At first, I did not quite comprehend the title for this novel. I found myself using the author's sentences for a new title, 'This Was Scandel Waiting To Happen' or 'The Perfect Gentleman' then realised Lady Mary's desire in wanting to be kissed. I was inquisitive in the outcome of all the love stories, impatiently reading, coming into more twist and turns. My emotions took the best of me and showed its true colours as I laughed, gotten angry with the cousin and his mother which left me with the question of; if Lady Mary's father made wealthy with the patronage of her uncle then why was her cousin in need of monies. I even cried for Simon and Morna's tragic history. The interaction between relationships left me with an elated, pleasurable feeling! Looking forward to the next novel in this series! Jane Silhouette