I am delighted to have Virgina Heath on The Cozy Pages today. Thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Publication Day Push for The Marquess Next Door.
A dashing new neighbour…
Temptation on her doorstep!
To avoid an unwanted suitor at a ball, Hope Brookes asks another gentleman to rescue her. He obliges – with a surprisingly passionate kiss! Revealed as her sinfully handsome new neighbour, Lucius, Marquess of Thundersley, they forge a friendship over their balconies. It’s refreshing that Lucius is more interested in her writer dreams than her looks, so why can’t she stop thinking about that kiss?
Oh my. I loved the first book in this series, The Viscount’s Unconventional Lady, but I think I’m even more enchanted by this one. Hope and Luke completely stole my heart!
In the middle of a super busy week at work and home, I was in desperate need of a brain cooler that would also lift my spirits. The Marquess Next Door did just that.
There is so much I love about the book but I’ll start with a reference to the series in general. The series spotlights the three Brookes sisters in turn. Their parents are famous and supremely talented creatives living in London of the 1810s. The girls themselves each have their own talents and are ready to take London society by storm, if they could just battle that pesky issue of living in a male dominated world!
Hope, our heroine, is an author. Her stories have been a focal point of her life and the centre of her heart for most of her life. She desires nothing more than to be published under her own name, and not have to wear a pseudonym affected to hide her gender. Hope battles with more than just sexism in the publishing world. As a generously endowed curvy woman with fiery red hair, she’s also found herself the object of men’s fantasies since she was a teenager. These men seem to be only after one thing and can almost never find her eyes when speaking with her!
The author really takes the reader into Hope’s frustration at being seen as just a body and being judged by men and women alike based solely on physical appearance. Her wit is often on show as she deftly and acerbically puts such not-so-gentle-men in their place.
Then Hope meets Luke and just maybe here’s a man who can appreciate her mind even more than her body.
Having grown up near destitute, despite being the second son of a Marquess, Luke does not suffer fools. His brother’s untimely death makes him a much courted member of the ton overnight, even if he’d much rather be left to his own devices managing his affairs in Cornwall. He’s his mother’s protector and fully committed to helping those in need. The story of how he became his mother’s caregiver is a sad one but also one of hope and resilience. Having bourne the burden of worrying for her for so long, it is difficult for him to see how strong she actually is. Hope is a wonderful help in that regard.
I loved the balcony scenes. They are pivotal to developing the relationship between Hope and Luke. It’s a space where they can be left in private to talk and let their guards down. It is on that balcony, while discussing the mundane and the profound, that true love blossoms.
Mental health issues, and care for those who suffer, are also at the forefront of this novel. Luke’s mother suffered from what would later be known as postpartum depression and the lack of care or downright abuse meted out to her was deplorable. This theme is neatly and intriguingly woven into the narrative.
What an utter delight The Marquess Next Door is to read. I loved, loved, loved every page and moment I spent in this story. I’m not sure Ms. Heath can top this one with Charity’s story, but I’m ever so eager to find out!
I give The Marquess Next Door 5/5 rich espresso shots.
When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Despite that, it still takes her forever to fall asleep.
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