Monday, January 6, 2014

Review: How to Master Your Marquis

How to Master Your Marquis (Princess in Hiding - Book 2) by Juliana Gray

Publication Date: 01/07/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Sensation
Genre: Historical Romance
Pages: 320
ISBN-10: 0425265676
ISBN-13: 978-0425265673

(Received for an honest review from Berkley Sensation)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound

Juliana Gray on the WEB: Website, Twitter, Facebook, goodreads

Books in the series

How to Tame Your Duke (2013), How to Master Your Marquis (2014)

Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.


Three intrepid princesses find themselves targets in a deadly plot against the crown—until their uncle devises a brilliant plan to keep them safe...

Of all her sisters, Princess Stefanie is by far the least amenable to law and order, which is why she’s appalled to find herself masquerading as an unbearably drab clerk for the most honorable barrister in England. But her dull disguise turns out to have its privileges: namely, the opportunity to consort unchaperoned with her employer’s exceedingly handsome nephew, James Lambert, the Marquess of Hatherfield.

Hatherfield quickly realizes that his uncle’s spirited new clerk is, in fact, a lovely young woman of daring habits. The outwardly impeccable marquis isn’t about to reveal her deception. After all, he’s hiding a dangerous secret of his own. But when one too many escapades with the madcap princess bring Hatherfield’s troubled past to light, it is only Stefanie’s sharp wits that stand between the marquis and utter disaster, and only Hatherfield’s daring that can save the princess from the shadowy agents bent on finding her.


Author Juliana Gray brings readers the second book in her Princess in Hiding series, How to Master Your Marquis. Gray employs humor and madcap antics to get the readers attention and never lets it go from the first page to the last. This Victorian historical is somewhat different from Regency novels and readers will appreciate the advent of technology and how it changed the ton and the times. Gray's attention to detail is impeccable and her character development impressive. A great second book in this engaging series.

What I liked:

Often times when I think of historical romance, I automatically go to the Regency period in my mind. Lately there have been an increasing number of romances being set in the Victorian era, which I find really interesting. Seeing all of the differences between how things changed is remarkable. The role of women, as well as, technology is evolving and I think Gray really took that into consideration in this novel. The Regency period may be the more popular, but certainly not the only good setting for historical romance. Gray does the Victorian era justice.

I also really enjoyed how the story line in this one splits between two timelines. When we meet the heroine, Stefanie she and the Marquis Hatherfield are already in a relationship, but he is on trial for murder which complicates things dramatically. The timeline then switches to how he and Stefanie met and the antics they go through together that lead up to the trial. So readers are following both the progression of the relationship and that of the trial for the bigger part of the book. When the timelines converge near the end, the action really picks up and readers will be on the edge of their seats.

Princess Stefanie isn't your typical heroine or your typical princess. I loved the way that Gray wrote this character. She is headstrong and manages to get herself into all kinds of predicaments that provide a lot of comedic relief in the story. Stefanie has gone from being a spoiled princess who wants nothing more than to flaunt the rules, to a working class girl and the change in her is remarkable. She still has her own rule book, but her character development is interesting and full of surprises.

James is also a very captivating character. He is a true hero and Gray is clever in showing his vulnerability, as well as, his strength. There were some tender moments to be sure and the Marquis even had me in tears a time or two. It's amazing that even though in romance we often know the ending the journey is the most amazing part. Gray writes James like the knight in shining armour most women have in their dreams. He was a joy to read.

What I didn't like:

There was a lot of action in the beginning that I wasn't exactly sure where it was leading. The pace seemed a bit rushed and was grasping to gain the readers attention at times. But eventually it calms a little bit and readers actually get into the meat of the story and that makes all the difference. If you disregard some of the hoopla at the beginning is still a great read.

Bottom Line:

This was a very well written Victorian historical. I love the time period, the comedic moments provided by Princess Stefanie, especially those regarding a fake mustache and trousers, and James a gem of a hero. The split timeline was interesting and kept me engaged. A overall excellent romance.

How to Master Your Marquis will be available to booksellers on January 7, however pre-order is available now.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Juliana Gray began writing as a child to relieve the tedium of being sentenced to her room, and later turned to romance to relieve the tedium of unsatisfactory suitors. Sadly, despite five years’ residence in the most exclusive areas of London, she never met a single duke, though she once shared a taxi with a future baron.

Juliana’s debut romance trilogy, A Lady Never LiesA Gentleman Never Tells, and A Duke Never Yields, won widespread acclaim, including the RT Book Review’s Seal of Excellence for August 2012.  As Beatriz Williams, she is also the author of Overseas and A Hundred Summers from G. P. Putnam’s Sons. She enjoys dark chocolate, champagne, and dinner parties, and adores hearing from readers.