This is a light, feel-good historical with a couple that’s easy to root for. There aren’t really any surprises. The story progresses exactly as you would expect, from beginning to end. But sometimes, it’s nice to just take the journey, knowing your destination, when the warm and fuzzy feelings hit the spot.
Lilah Appleton has to find a husband of noble birth… and fast. As she nears the end of her third season, she is about to be forced into a marriage with her odious cousin. Her father’s will has promised her to him, unless she finds another match among the nobility. Time is running out and her prospects look dim.
Enter Jack Marlowe. He’s the bastard son of an earl who holds nothing but disdain for the members of the ton who snub their noses at everyone. He has plenty of money, allowing him just about anything he wants or needs. And as the story begins, what he wants is to deliver flowers to Lilah. He doesn’t know her; he certainly has no plans to court her. It’s all about a promise he made to his friend, the Duke of Vale, a few months ago.
Let me pause here to acknowledge that with this thread, I felt like I was missing something. This book is the first in a series, yet clearly there was some story before this. If this sort of thing bothers you, be aware that Vale’s love story with Lilah’s friend Ivy can be found in the anthology, All I Want for Christmas Is a Duke. You can totally enjoy this story without that one, though.
When Lilah and Jack meet, something interesting happens. For the first time, a man remembers her name. Finally, Lilah is not the forgettable cousin of the beautiful Juliet. But it’s not until Juliet makes a wager with Jack’s friend, the Marquess of Thayne, that things really get interesting. Juliet bets that she can turn Lilah into the season’s “Original,” giving her a sea of gentleman vying for her hand. Thayne is to groom his own candidate. As Juliet works her magic, Lilah begins to gain confidence and attention. Surprisingly (or not) the only man who she really seems to want is the one who she can’t marry.
I really liked the chemistry between Lilah and Jack. He’s so roguish and charming, and I love how his attention made her feel. Jack has some issues — about his father and the fallout from the circumstances of his birth, but I enjoyed his journey as he slowly overcame them. I also really enjoyed his falling for Lilah, despite all of his other intentions. He showed himself to be a good man, and one who really cared what happened to her, a women ignored by so many for so long.
Lilah really evolves in this book, as well. She was overlooked and a pushover for so long. Watching her gain confidence and grow a backbone is good stuff. It’s not immediate, but she really takes control of her own life and her future, which is so much better than just having a hero save the day.
The ending is a little fast, but it gave me what I wanted. The story moves quickly and it satisfies.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Debutante Is Mine
by Vivienne Lorret
Release Date: April 12, 2016