Leisure, Apr 2003, 5.99, 311 pp.
More comfortable with horses than with men, Lady Julia Westfall wants to inherit the stable when her ailing beloved father dies. She detests the types of things her female peers love while being very competitive with men when it comes to steeds.
Widow Lord Henry Pelham wants the horses also and needs a mother for his cherished daughter Isbeau. He offers Julia a business arrangement. They marry, share the horses, but not the bedroom as Henry fears insanity flows through his bloodlines with his uncle and aunt as proof. Julia figures he cannot bed a “horseface” like her, but agrees to his terms. They marry and she moves into the loony bin that is the Pelham extended household. She quickly becomes a favorite, beloved by all, but the one she needs the most remains beyond her reach as she believes her love for him is unrequited. In reality Henry loves her and wants to consummate his marriage, but fumbles each time he tries to talk with Julia.
This reviewer realizes that a zillion historical romance novels center on the marriage of convenience theme. THE MAD MARQUIS is the zillion and one tale to employ that overkilled motif. Yet in the capable hands of Fiona Carr, readers receive a terrific tale starring a strong cast that leads to a delightful novel. The story line hooks the audience from the moment Julia enters the asylum as the audience meets the inmates who are only eccentric and lovable. The relationship between the lead couple evolves so that fans find themselves immersed in a fabulous nineteenth century romance.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner