If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all. - Oscar Wilde
We shouldn't teach great books; we should teach a love of reading. - B. F. Skinner
No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting. - Mary Wortley Montagu

Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: Only Marriage Will Do by Jenna Jaxon / @pumpupyourbook @lyricalpress @jenna_jaxon

Title: Only Marriage Will Do
Series: House of Pleasure, Book 2
Author: Jenna Jaxon
Publisher: Kensington Lyrical Press
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Genre: Historical, Romance
ARC Received From: NetGalley
Reviewed For: Pump Up Your Book

Happily-ever-afters don’t always begin at “I do.” 

When the man of her dreams rescues Lady Juliet Ferrers from the villain claiming to be her husband, she is sure she has found her one true love. But is she free to marry him? Not to be deterred, Juliet arranges for her hero to escort her to her family estate in far off Northern England—hoping that along the way she can win his love—and his hand…

Captivated by Juliet’s sweetness and beauty, Captain Amiable Dawson can’t help but be spellbound by the promise of a life with her. But the spell breaks when questions arise about her marital status. Soon the upstanding Amiable is unsure if he is indeed married to Juliet. And when his rival absconds with her, Amiable must choose between the law of the land and his heart’s desire to rescue Juliet once more…

Other books in this series

I struggled with liking Juliet. Oh, she's beautiful and appears to be sweet as pie but... I don't know. Her goal was to marry Amiable, by any means necessary it seemed, and she accomplished that goal with deception and lying by omission. I might have been able to forgive her if she'd come clean about everything before she married Amiable. But seeing as how one major truth didn't come out until after, it was hard for me to feel sorry for her.

Now, her distress over her supposed marriage by proxy to St. Cyr was absolutely real. As was her recount of the night he attempted to rape her because "it was his right". I could see why those appealed to Amiable, or to any man with a soft heart and a conscience. Tears are one thing while coming to the rescue to a damsel in distress is another. Juliet was most certainly a damsel in distress in regards to St. Cyr and his claims. She wasn't one in regards to much else though.

What threw me was how quickly Amiable and Juliet fell in love. I'm not saying it can't happen. Hell, if anyone who frequents this blog knew me they'd know I'm a firm believer in that phenomenon occurring in real life. But the beauty of that kind of feeling was lost because of Juliet and placed a huge seed of doubt in my mind as to the validity of their feelings for one another. Was it really love? Or was it puppy love (Juliet) and lust (Amiable)?

Although Amiable played the part out of concern for Juliet, being her husband opened a can of worms he wasn't prepared to deal with. I mean, how often does anyone in real life or in fiction discover their now-wife might be married by proxy to one man and engaged to another while being married to him? Only Amiable it seems, lol. His reaction, understandable. Juliet's brother might've been furious that Amiable left but what'd he expect? What would he have done if he'd discovered the same about his wife?

But you want to know something? For all her faults, Juliet was only human. What she wanted, she did whatever was necessary to obtain, even if it went against the very grain of society, even if it meant learning the hard way that trust is not as easily obtained as it is so easily abused.

Amiable, on the other hand, was likeable. A bit naive, I think, in the ways a woman's mind works or could work but that didn't make him less approachable for me. He didn't have a vice--drinking, gambling, womanizing, smoking, etc.--that could be considered off putting or a reason why no sane woman would marry him. He was good looking, a former soldier, the son of a wealthy baron, a gentleman. He was everything Juliet could ever ask for, need or want in a husband, so it was hard for me to accept the sincerity of her apologies when all the truth was laid out between them.

There is one part of this book, I think the end of Chapter 21, when Amiable reflects on all that has happened between him and Juliet since that fateful meeting. In less than a dozen paragraphs, he not only reconciles the fall out between them, reasons where the blame lies with what, but he also admits that he still loves her. If that isn't a testament to how strong unconditional love is, I don't know what is.

This story may or may not take with some historical romance readers. Juliet will probably annoy you with her immaturity, deceit, and lies. Amiable might make you scratch your head as you wonder why he's still with her. But if you choose to take a chance on this, which I hope you do, I hope you see that this isn't about the lies that brought them together but about the love that keeps them together.

Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical  and contemporary romance.  She is currently finishing revisions to  her fifth full length novel, To Woo A Wicked Widow, set in Regency England and the first book in her five part series, The Widow’s Club. Her medieval trilogy, Time Enough to Love, is being published by Rising Phoenix Publications. Book 1, Betrothal is currently available.  Book 2, Betrayal, will be available later this fall.

Jenna has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager.  A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise.  She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets.  When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director.  She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.

She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.

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