Series: Essex Sisters #1
Published by Avon Books on December 28, 2004
FINAL DECISION: This book started out slowly because there are so many characters and situations to set up as this book kicks off the Essex Sisters series. Once the story focused on Tess and Lucius, however, I loved how it went. Took too long to get there, however.
THE STORY: When their father dies, the four Essex sisters become wards of the Duke of Holbrook. The duke means well, but he is a drunkard and a bit clueless about what to do with his four unexpected wards. The oldest sister Tess realizes that she needs to marry quickly so that she can help her younger sisters marry well. While Tess gets engaged to an earl, she can’t stop thinking about Mr. Lucius Felton who is just too complicated and tempting for Tess.
OPINION: This book started out slowly for me. There are multiple storylines and characters that clearly will be explored during the other three books in the series. This book sets the table and because of that, this book takes a long time to get going. There are some false starts until the real romance between Tess and Lucius really gets started.
Once the romance and storyline switches to focus on Tess and Lucius, I loved it. The two end up being so sweet together. The contrast between their marriage of convenience and Tess’s sisters marriage of passionate love becomes clear as Lucius falls deeply in love with his wife and the care the two have for one another becomes clear.
I especially liked how Lucius quietly cares for those important to him. He feels deeply and I loved how he makes things happen. He is hero that I really liked and not at all like the rake that I expected from the blurb. Rather, he felt like a real gentleman with a little naughty streak. Despite his intentions, he clearly falls for Tess and he can’t help how much he wants to care for her.
Before Tess and Lucius gets together, I was a bit annoyed by her character as she appeared clueless at times. The mixing and matching of the men and women gets sorted out, however, and then the story begins to really take shape.
I hope that the future books in the series can build upon the ending of this book which was strong.
WORTH MENTIONING: This book sets up all four books in the series and thus has a lot of characters material and set up to get through.
CONNECTED BOOKS: MUCH ADO ABOUT YOU is the first book of the Essex Sisters series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.