The Temptation of Lady Serena (The Marriage Game #3)
Author: Ella Quinn
Release Date: 14 January 2014
Ella Quinn's bachelors in The Marriage Game series are charming and cunning when it comes to the ways of love--until the right woman captures their unsuspecting hearts. . .
Custom-made gowns. . .nights at the theater. . .and a host of eligible bachelors. Accustomed to living a quiet life in the Scottish Borderlands, Lady Serena Weir has never had any of these luxuries. But when Serena's brother demands she finally have a Season in London, she's thrust into a glamorous world she's only dreamed of. . .
Robert, Viscount Beaumont, remembers all too well what it feels like to be in love. That is why he must keep his distance from Serena. He's only felt his pulse stir the way it does now when he made the mistake of loving the wrong woman once before. Yet the more he strives to resist his feelings, the nearer he is to falling under Serena's seductive spell. . .
This is the first book I've read from Ella Quinn, and it's the third book in The Marriage Game series. It works perfectly well as a standalone, although I'll probably read the previous two books because I liked the characters.
Serena was a likable heroine, who was unwilling to marry unless it was for love, which was very admirable. She was a bit of a contradiction which was interesting. When she arrives in London, she's very nervous as she doesn't know much about the ways of the ton and is, at 26, past the age most women would be for their first season. Luckily, she has plenty of very capable help on hand. But then when she's in the country, and particularly at Robert's estate, she's in her element. This is what she knows how to do, managing a country home and estate, and it brings out a different type of confidence in her.
Robert seems like the typical ne'er-do-well rake, and he pretty much is. Sure, he's charming and actually has a very good heart. But he's also a bit overbearing, autocratic and has too little interest in the management of his estate. I love the subtle changes in his character that occur when Robert starts to fall more in love with Serena. Although it did take him far too long to realise that acting high-handed with Serena was never going to work out well for him.
Robert and Serena were a great match, and had plenty of sparks flying between them. Despite this, their romance fell a bit flat for me. It felt very drawn out, and just ended up a bit on the meh side. The writing and story was quite busy, which detracted from the main romance for me. There was a lot of switching between a lot of different character's POVs, which gave a good perspective of the story from all sides but there just too much of it.
One of my favourite things about this book was that there were some really great secondary characters. There's quite a few of them to keep track of, but they were all well characterised and the dynamics between them were really enjoyable. There was even a secondary romance between Robert's aunt and an old beau of hers.
Overall, I found this to be a pretty good historical romance. It didn't blow me away, but it was enjoyable. I found the pacing slow at times, even when something was happening in the plot that should have helped increase the speed or excitement. I'm interested to see what the rest of the books in the series are like, as I really liked the characters featured in this book, who are the main focus in the previous books.
*I received a review copy from the publisher, via NetGalley, for my honest review. Thank you!