Title: A Kiss for Lady Mary
Series: The Marriage Game #6
Author: Ella Quinn
Format: eBook, 320 pages
Published: May 26, 2015 by Lyrical Press
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 2 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Ella Quinn’s bachelors do as they like and take what they want. But when the objects of their desire are bold, beautiful women, the rules of the game always seem to change…
Handsome, charming, and heir to a powerful Viscount, Christopher “Kit” Featherton is everything a woman could want—except interested in marriage. So when he hears that someone on his estate near the Scottish border is claiming to be his wife, Kit sets off to investigate.
Since her parents’ death, Lady Mary Tolliver has been hounded by her cousin, a fortune-hunting fool after her inheritance. Refusing to settle for anything less than love, Mary escapes to the isolated estate of rakish bachelor, Kit Featherton. Knowing he prefers Court to the country, she believes she will be safe. But when Kit unexpectedly returns, her pretend marriage begins to feel seductively real…
Mary is in hiding from her cousin who wants to marry her and steal her large dowry. It will still be a year before Mary can turn old enough to control her future and after a slim escape from the cousin, a new plan besides just town hopping is needed. Her wily grandmother convinces her to hide out at a remote town living in a house pretending to be the owner's wife. When Christopher "Kit" Featherton gets word that his "wife" is occupying a remote estate of his, he decides to pay a little visit.
I thought this started off incredibly slow, it takes a while for our couple to get together, and unfortunately, the slow pace persisted throughout the rest of the book. This is very much a "true" regency; Mary and Kit are a product of their times. Mary likes to go on walks and wander around bemoaning having to hide away from her cousin and missing another season in London to find a husband before she reaches the abominable age of twenty-five. Kit is a perfect gentleman who dances with every lady asked of him at balls and uses a quizzing glass in a non-ironical way. Years ago they had met each other and developed a fondness but as their grandmothers connive to set them up, the bulk of their story is Kit trying to get Mary to want to marry him for real without doing anything so she doesn't feel pressured and Mary thinking there could be no way Kit would want to marry her and silently begging him to kiss her. Our couple is not falling in love but working to be married, it felt forced in a long meandering way and lacked anticipation and excitement.
This is sixth in the series and past couples make long extended appearances, I haven't read any of the previous books but others who have would probably enjoy revisiting them and their growing families. Two side romances are also included in the story, Mary's aunt Eunice and the town rector and a woman they meet in Edinburgh named Morna and Simon. The aunt's romance starts rather abruptly and ends the same way but they managed to have more going on in their couple pages of relationship than Mary and Kit did with a whole book dedicated to them. I don't know if Morna and Simon were featured in previous books but their story, which lasted for a couple chapters, felt like it came out of nowhere (seriously who were these people?) and felt very out of place in the book. Their story seemed interesting, star crossed lovers, lies, deceit, hidden marriage, and years of heartbreak but ended up mostly glossed over; they needed their own novella.
As I mentioned, this is true regency, down to the character's speech and mannerisms. This was overall a pretty clean story with the first sex scene between Mary and Kit being their wedding night and her not knowing how they fit together. Everything in the story is very easy and gentle and I found myself missing some adventure. The writing is technically sound and if you want a slower moving, wanders off target occasionally, clean, and regency time period story this would fit the bill. For me, however, this felt like drinking watered down scotch, it's didn’t cut it.