14 March 2017

When the Marquess Falls by Lorraine Heath (The Hellions of Havisham #3.5)

Summary from Goodreads:
The long-anticipated and utterly extraordinary tale of the Mad Marquess that proves love truly does last forever

The Marquess of Marsden always follows the rules. Expected from birth to adhere to decades of tradition, he plans to marry a proper young woman from a good family. But when a beautiful, and completely unsuitable, woman snags his heart, he begins to realize that to get what you want, sometimes you have to break the rules.

Linnie Connor dreams of the independence of running her very own bakery. And while she may be allowed to be a marquess’ childhood companion, the baker's daughter never ends up with the handsome nobleman. Determined to achieve at least one of her dreams, Linnie makes plans to leave her sleepy village for London, intent on purging him from her heart. And yet, when an invitation to the Marsden annual ball arrives, she can't refuse her one chance to waltz in his arms.

It will be a night that stirs the flames of forbidden desires and changes their lives forever.

When the Marquess Falls is a very bittersweet and heartbreaking prequel, even if it's listed out as #3.5. I've only read Falling Into Bed With a Duke (the first in the "Hellions of Havisham" series) but its opening chapter/prologue is enough to tell you what has to happen in this book.  The relationship between Linnie and Marsden seems natural, with just the right amount of plot for a novella without all the tiresome will-we-won't-we that occasionally infests the romance genre (a little is fine for the tension, but some over do it to the extreme). You'll need the Kleenex.

(Edited to add: And while this ending is appropriate for this novella, because Marsden's problems had to start somewhere, I am not generally in favor of this No Happy Ever After trend that seems to be appearing.  Not in my genre romance, go put that stuff in general fiction or something.)

Dear FTC: I received a digital galley of this novella from the publisher via Edelweiss.

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