Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Once Upon a Marquess

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Once Upon a Marquess (2015) Courtney Milan

Set in England in 1866.

Judith Worth has been raising her brother and sister since her father and eldest brother were convicted of treason. Since that conviction cost them their fortune, it has been a struggle–especially since they didn’t know how to do anything for themselves.

Additionally, her youngest sister is… difficult.

Some people thought Theresa stupid. She wasn’t, not remotely. She was just the kind of clever that cared so little for what others thought that it was often mistaken for stupidity. When she could make herself sit still long enough to read, she understood everything. But she was always distracted— or, at least, she was always distracting herself. She’d been difficult from the moment she was born.

Christian Trent is the Marquess of Ashford, childhood friend of the Worths, and responsible for finding the evidence of the treason of Judith’s father and brother.

He also has his own difficulties.

His business had been the demolition of pastry into its constituent crumbs. Demolition, then division: He’d separated the bits first by size, and when that seemed unsatisfying on some gut level, by deviation from roundness.

Then, he’d very carefully started eating— from the most irregularly shaped crumb toward the most symmetrical.

He was almost finished with the infuriatingly oblong bits when Judith came in.

Also, he has a marvelous sense of humor.

“Sometimes, it’s downright cruel to crack jokes. People get upset for good reasons. Trying to cheer them up denies what is happening to them.”

“No, it doesn’t.” Christian set a hand on the seat between them. “It’s a way of recognizing their very legitimate feelings of distress and wishing that person well. You cannot reasonably think that it’s cruel to hope that an unhappy person will feel better. It’s like saying ‘my sincerest condolences’ at a funeral.”

I absolutely love how her characters are rarely perfect. Not that the hero and heroine don’t see each other as perfect–but they have quirks and issues like normal people, which make them, to me, tremendously lovable.

I also love the secondary characters, and the interactions with the main characters that brings more life to all.

It was a curious friendship, the one Judith had with Daisy, but that didn’t make it any less dear. Theirs was not the sort of friendship where they told each other the truth. The truth was hard and nearly impossible to bear; talking about it would not make it any easier.

I also love the seemingly throw-away bits that make the story more complex, such as Judith’s description of her father.

My father was difficult; I never knew him well. Before he inherited the earldom, he was in the army. After, he was gone for years on end for his ambassadorial duties. When he returned from his last stint in India, he was… odd. He developed some exceedingly strange notions.” She couldn’t look at him. “He served in too many wars before he inherited the earldom unexpectedly.

Plus, I love the glimpses into society.

You know how gossip is. Go to a few parties. Dance with a few young ladies.” She shrugged. “Marry one of them, and nobody will ever speak ill of you again.”

Christian couldn’t help himself. He burst into laughter. Well, at least he’d tried to be serious. “Go to a few parties. Dance a few dances. Commit yourself in a public, binding ceremony to another person for the rest of your life. One of these things is rather different in scope than the others, don’t you think?”

Well, society and Christian’s sense of humor.


Given the work recently done by John Snow and Louis Pasteur, Christian suspected that a central repository of aging water was more likely to be a hotbed of disease than health. But then, nobody had asked him.

I don’t think this book is quite as good as the books in the Brothers Sinister series, but it is still very good and well-worth reading.
Rating: 8/10

Published by Courtney Milan


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