Much Ado About You (The Essex Sisters Book 1)

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Not your standard historical romance then. But it completely works, and I loved these books. Once I went back and re-read the first scene — it made such perfect sense. I just wanted to read about Tess and Lucius, dammit. Having said that, I felt Ms James made each character an individual, rather than just one of the cast, and this book set up the rest of the series really well. I really liked Annabel. I liked the fact she was completely honest about wanting to marry for money, because she knew what it was like being poor. Yet when she had to, she just mucked in and got on with it.

Rafe, in the meantime, has been spending a bit too much time with only alcohol for company.

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And a long-lost brother turns up, just to add to the fun, and to set the scene for a mistaken identity plot. I thought Ms James did an excellent job of redeeming the self-absorbed admittedly, with good reason Imogen in this book, and showing her softer, more vulnerable side.

And I loved the tavern scene when Imogen gets all tipsy and lets her hair down. Oh, this is also the book that caused a bit of an uproar online, with a controversy about the mistaken identity plotline. I read the book all the way through, then went onto her website for the spoiler trail. And yes, I missed all the clues.

I can see that if I had been reading the book without having heard anything beforehand, I would have been a bit taken aback by the ending. Josie, the youngest sister, is having a bit of a nightmare Season. He is now forced to just be himself, and oddly enough, that seems to work. When he sees her ride her horse, a Thoroughbred that threw a seasoned man off its back once, with utter control, he has forgotten why he wanted to marry her in the first place and has become interested in her.

It's a bit of a whirlwind courtship, but before he proposes Tess gives Lucius another chance, because she feels something special with him, even though she knows she can have a happy life with Mayne and come to care for him. But Lucius passes, so Tess accepts Mayne's proposal. And then one of her sisters heads off to Gretna Green to elope with a man which will bring disaster on the rest of them. To save her sisters Tess goes ahead and decides to have her wedding immediately, while Lucius rides off to try to stop her sister.

Luckily Mayne has an uncle who is a Bishop, who is quickly sent for. Vows are said and at least one sister gets married, but is it to the right man?

At the beginning of this book, the sisters seem intent on not marrying "horse-mad" men like their father, but that is just the men they seem to meet right away and be pushed toward marrying. When Tess decides to let Mayne court her, Anabel goes after Lucius, who also has quite a stable and races them at the derby, as does Rafe. I grew up in Lexington, Kentucky where all the horse farms were and where Secretariat is buried.

This book brought back so many fond memories. Each sister is different in temperament, looks, and interests. Tess, though beautiful, has never felt so because she has always stood next to Anabel and Imogen who have a beauty that is more striking and not subtle, like hers. She also feels a bit lacking in other areas such as education. The girls would read the books in their father's library but only got to the letter H. It will take a certain type of man to see how special Tess truly is.

Quotes The first thing Teresa noticed was that the Englishmen were playing with toys. That fit with everything they'd heard about Englishmen: thin, puny types they were, who never grew up and shivered with cold during a stiff breeze. I'm simply being practical. One of us must marry, and I have the attributes that make most men dazed enough to overlook lack of dowry. I'm not going to pretend to posses ladylike virtues that I don't have in front of you three. It's too late for that. If Papa truly wanted us to think like ladies, he wouldn't have trained us to do exactly the opposite.

Any woman with five thousand pounds a year is, by definition, a dazzler. But from everything I learned, one would wish one's husband to be experienced and yet not so energetic that he cannot be pleased at home. A tired rake is precisely the best sort of spouse. There's no reading minds about it. Horses are affectionate creatures, after all, but just creatures. They're not like humans.

They don't betray, and they don't hide their motives. She had never felt stupider in her life. How does one say: please do not destroy my clothing until I have more? Was he on a schedule of some sort? The most fun I've had reading a book in a long time.

Review: Much Ado About You - Top 10 Romance BooksTop 10 Romance Books

Much Ado About You is a pure delight. I was laughing, sighing, even tearing up a bit. It is witty, intelligent, humorous, light and fun, but underscoring all this is a keen insight that gets to the heart of human emotion and tragedies both small and large. I loved how this book provides a diverse range of characters - it's just as much about the recently orphaned Essex sisters Tess, Annabel, Imogen, and Josie, their guardian Rafe Jourdain, the Duke of Holbrook and his friends Garret the Earl of Mayne and Lucius Felton, along with an engaging cast of other secondary characters, as it is about the primary romance between the hero and heroine.

I thought James balanced these many different story threads very well.

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The book is enthralling, entertaining, and original, a refreshing take on the usual stereotypes. Part of the fun of Much Ado About You is that you never quite know how things are going to turn out and the characters are always surprising you. For a while I wasn't even sure who would end up with whom - a remarkable feat in a book. James deftly explores the sundry relationships among her characters. The sisters' relationships in particular were spot on, so genuine and real - their love for each other bound up with playful squabbling and heartbreaking ruptures.

Much Ado about You

And the romance isn't half bad either, full of touching moments that are breathtaking and beautiful. My only complaint is that we don't get inside the hero's head enough - though this slight imbalance didn't interfere with my enjoyment of the book at all and I was able to get a good sense of his character anyway. To put it simply, I loved this book. It's my first by Eloisa James, and I'm definitely going to track down more. What a great story! I laughed and cried many times! Such wonderful writing and really engaging characters!!

I love this authors work!! I am currently on a Regency kick and this one was terrific!! I like how this book started out with describing the Essex sisters and how they are all different. Series which have lead ladies with different personalities are always fun reads for me. Wallflowers anyone? When Lucius is about to walk into the dining room and meet a slightly tipsy Tess the smile on my face was unstoppable.


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I definitely hope Derwent sticks around in this story. There is not much interaction between the two, but boy howdy when there is action it is intense. Lucius Felton who is just too complicated and tempting for Tess. There are multiple storylines and characters that clearly will be explored during the other three books in the series.

This book sets the table and because of that, this book takes a long time to get going. There are some false starts until the real romance between Tess and Lucius really gets started. Once the romance and storyline switches to focus on Tess and Lucius, I loved it. The two end up being so sweet together.

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