A Love Match for the Marquess by Cara Maxwell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a wonderful read and a poignant, heartfelt depiction of a new marriage!

Cara Maxwell is an excellent writer, and this may be her smoothest book yet.

The heroine of the story, Madison, is extremely likeable. She is determined to be her own person and not to hide who she really is in the search for a husband. She is also set on finding a love match, and when she believes she has mistakenly fallen into a marriage which will not be one, it is heartbreaking. For me Madison’s uniqueness does not only come from her reading the newspaper and being interested in political issues, but from her kind of obliviousness to manners / brashness / outspokenness. She is refreshing, fun, and sometimes awkward! When she approaches the hero for the first time, I was cringing for her.

Cara Maxwell is excellent at interjecting her books with tenderness, wisdom, and realism. I loved that Madison asks her suitor about his romantic history before their marriage, and that he is impressed that she does and understands. Both hero and heroine are complex, fully-realized, empathetic characters and when they misunderstand one another and it creates conflict in their marriage, it is truly moving and believable rather than simply a “false misunderstanding.”

The conflict between them will be so recognizable by many readers as it mirrors real relationships. Honestly, at some points I was crying–and I do not normally cry when reading romance. Don’t get me wrong, this is by no means a depressing or dark book, but the author doesn’t shy away from depicting how utterly terrifying it can sometimes be to open up to another human and to try to understand another person’s true self.

So many romances romanticize (ha!) the newlywed phase and depict it as mainly sexual bliss. Of course, A Love Match for the Marquess has that, too, and is very swoony. But it’s not all rainbows and sunshine. The heroine wants something beyond a superficial marriage that is solely based on the physical or about social appearances, and her path to finding a meaningful, loving relationship is sure to engage and move you.

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