Review: Once Upon a Marquess

Once Upon a Marquess
Once Upon a Marquess by Courtney Milan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Complex Romance to Kick Off New Series

“Once upon a time, there had been a marquess and Lady Judith Worth had thought that he would conquer the world. He had. She just hadn’t realized at the time that he meant to take it from her.”

FINAL DECISION: Complex and difficult situations face the couple in ONCE UPON A MARQUESS which proves that second chances are possible. Judith and Christian have a painful past and yet they yearn to be together. Complex, well written and an a great first course of the Worth Saga.

THE STORY: Judith Worth struggles to keep what is left of her family together. Eight years before, her life fell apart when her brother and father were accused of being traitors. The facts supporting the accusations came from the man that Judith once thought to marry. Christian Trent, Marquess of Ashford spent summers with the Worth family and Judith’s brother was his best friend. He expected to marry Judith but when he father killed himself and her brother was transported, Judith rejected him. Christian has never forgotten Judith. Now the two meet again when Judith needs his help finding out what has happened to her younger sister. Despite their sad past, the two still feel an uneasy attraction to one another.

OPINION: Milan is a master at crafting complex and difficult situations for her characters to navigate. ONCE UPON MARQUESS introduces readers to the Worth family who have many secrets. For me, the weakness of the book was the amount of exposition necessary to provide introductions to all the different dramas that are starting out for the members of the family.

I am a great believer in Milan’s work, however, and I am sure that the complexity and drama will continue and develop throughout the series.

The romance of Judith and Christian is difficult and I loved how they rationally talk through their issues. Milan’s characters are great talkers. Their romance is partially a debate regarding the issues that challenge their happiness. ONCE UPON A MARQUESS is not only about romance. It is also about finding oneself through challenges, about weighing following the letter of the law and the harm that it causes, about the challenges that women face.

MIlan’s books always make me think. Not only is the romance sweeping, but the issues they face are complex and the answer is not always clear. I thought that Judith and Christian have a sweet romance. Christian has challenges of his own. Losing Judith meant that he lost the woman who understood his quirks.

In the years since they parted, both Judith and Christian have been pretending. They have been living lives made comfortable by accepting lies. Those lies have become impossible for them to continue to live with. Christian fears that he made a mistake by disclosing the crimes of his best friend and Judith fears that her beloved brother might actually have been guilty of treason. Redemption for these characters comes from confronting reality rather than relying on comforting lies.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book introduces a whole lot of characters and situations that will be explored further in the subsequent books in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: ONCE UPON A MARQUESS is the first book in the Worth Saga.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *