Note: This ARC was provided by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.
"How good of you to see me," he said, taking the chair opposite her. "You are looking quite well. Far better than the impression Lady Cosgrove gave."
Ah, so he had known she was here alone. "And what did she say, mere moments ago when she came to call on your mother?"
He grinned unabashedly. "That you were near death's door, likely stricken with a fever, a breathing ailment, thoughts adrift, unable to focus on a single task..."
"She did not." At least, Juliet didn't think it sounded like Zinnia to reveal so much.
"Then perhaps those are my ailments alone," he said with an absent shrug, as if he hadn't revealed something so monumental that it stole her breath.
Now, this is how you end a series and what a series it's been. Bestselling author Vivienne Lorret's Season's Original books have become four of my favorite reading encounters this year and the series is, without a doubt, going to be part of my year-end wrap-up of top reads. The author has given fans and readers the perfect ending with When a Marquess Loves a Woman, the third full-length novel and the fourth story in the series. Max Harwick and Juliet Granworth have been the one couple whose adversarial association has piqued my interest and curiosity from the second they crossed the page, and to finally have their story in my hands and learn, not just what brought about the far from friendly feelings, but why theirs truly is the epitome of a love-hate relationship. Theirs is, hands down, my absolute favorite romance in the collection.
Back when he was twenty-four, Max Harwick knew for a fact that a title and all the benefits that came with it was not to be his, what with having an older half-brother born and constantly being bred to it all. His brother was set to marry whoever would be named the Season's Original, and many expected it to be none other than twenty-two-year-old Juliet White, a walking, breathing goddess. But when another debutante is given the honor, Max offers a consoling ear and has constant hand in friendship. However, Max's long-held feelings for the beautiful Juliet lead him to give her a kiss, one that sears into both their memories. Caught in the act, Max goes on to assure Juliet that he will offer her marriage, but when she goes off to marry an older, far wealthier man, Max's heart is shattered, and it's five years before he sees Juliet again.
She may be a widow but Lady Granworth intends to live her life as she pleases, having quickly grown weary of the man who became her husband. He may have left her with a hefty inheritance and a title, but she desires nothing more than to leave memories of her time with him behind, but of course, that isn't easy with certain members of society never failing to remind her of the scandal that led to the marriage. Life in London has been interesting, especially when it comes to wagers and exchanges with Lord Thayne, who is none other than Maxwell Harwick. The young man who changed her with one kiss is now the Marquess of Thayne, but the easy friendship they once shared is gone. Neither one has forgotten what happened five years ago; Max has also not forgiven Juliet, but is it possible that he has never stopped loving her either?
Major squees and sighs ensued while I was reading Max and Juliet's story. These two gave as good as they got, with thinly veiled barbs through about and witty banter between them, I was thoroughly entertained and enthralled by both main characters. Most of the wagers they engaged in may have occurred while their relationship was still on the outs but I believe it helped spur the healing process forward, leading them to interact and engage. Juliet was this independent woman yet was self-aware and recognized what was holding her back and it was difficult not to like her. And dearest Max... As much as he tried to not repeat his "mistake" from five years ago, he was destined to do so. But then can loving your soul mate really be considered a mistake? I'm waxing poetic, but that's what Vivienne Lorret's writing does to me, as evidenced by perusing When a Marquess Loves a Woman. This is the author at her best. Five-plus stars. ♥
Read my reviews for the Season's Original series:
The Duke's Christmas Wish (prequel novella) - five stars - My Review
The Debutante is Mine (book one) - five stars - My Review
This Earl is on Fire (book two) - five-plus stars - My Review
When a Marquess Loves a Woman (book three) - five-plus stars - My Review (posted above)
Date Read: 14 October 2016
Learn more about Vivienne Lorret.