Ahhhhh! Reading books by this author is something I tend to equate to that feeling you get being wrapped in a warm blanket with a good mug of hot chocolate on a cold wet day. Or soaking in a bubble bath with a glass of champagne. Indulgent and supremely satisfying. Ms Bilson writes beautiful stories, which skirt the reliance of explicit amorous content, and instead present fully formed, complex, sympathetic and engaging characters. You can fairly feel the tension, and oh is it sweet - very ala Austen. Although thankfully, Ms Bilson writes in dual POV, so we get some very helpful insight on the hero's thoughts and feelings.
I should say, I'm not one to hand out 5 stars willy nilly, and am generally suspicious of books that seem to attract a huge number of 5 stars.... but this one deserves it.
This is my second reading of A Marquis for Marianne. I first read it as a part of a collection which is no longer available apparently. So I've been "forced" to read the story again in order to write a new review (oh the humanity lol). I learnt two things in the process: 1. This story holds up well to a second reading; and 2. It also reads very well as a stand alone. I don't think a new reader will have any difficulty understanding the interplay of characters or circumstances. Although I will say, you must read "An Earl for Ellen", purely for the betterment of your life hahaha! It's like the instant fulfillment of that cry for "more!" that follows the reading of a truly exceptional author!
Marianne's story might benefit from two warnings - bring tissues!! And remember the story is set in a time in which women did not enjoy a great deal of agency. Marianne's circumstances paint that in clear (though fortunately not too detailed) imagery, and could be triggering for some. I dare anyone not to sob at Marianne's pure joy at being asked what she might like to do with her day - for very nearly the first time in her life. And her triumph at taking charge of her life and being supported by those who love her. She suffered 8 years under horrendous circumstances, and in many ways this is her story of recovery and regrowth.
The story is also one of second chances - the hero and heroine having been cruelly interrupted by war (hero) and debt (heroine's father). Fortunately, once the two have a solid conversation, things progress quickly to restoring their friendship and admiration for one another. Ms Bilson paints wonderful imagery of the period, and succeeded in allowing me to be wholly absorbed in the experience of the story.
I really can't speak highly enough of the author and would happily recommend this story to anyone.
PS. The nephew's eventual comeuppance is VERY satisfying hahaha!
I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.