Baron Justin Wilde has spent the last 8 years as the Prince's assassin across Continental Europe. When he is summoned home to England, all Justin wishes is to return to his lands after procuring a pardon for a crime that sent his life spiraling out of control. He is issued a royal pardon for a price: He must marry Lady Alina from King Francis of Austria's court. Lady Alina's life is in danger, and the King and Prince feel who better to protect her and a new trade alliance than a retired assassin?
HOW TO WED A BARON was an enjoyable enough read. However, there just wasn't anything special about it to make it stand out. The idea of a Baron working as an assassin to obtain a royal pardon was intriguing. At moments, his character reminded me of dear Sir Percy Blakeney aka The Scarlet Pimpernel (Forgotten Books). Unfortunately, Justin wasn't as cool as Percy. Justin had the skills, the intellect, the motivation, but for some reason I just couldn't really care too deeply about him. His overbearing sense of honor was annoying as well as his high-handed way of dictating the actions of those around him.
I also had a hard time liking the heroine Lady Alina. At first, she endeared herself to me. Then, she grew bland and stereotypical and I just didn't care if she wed the Baron or not. It was humoring to watch her as she first lands on British soil. She's been a sheltered girl who firmly believed babies came from kissing. So she naively increases her wardrobe but neglects any purchases of nightwear because who's to see it? Life is an adventure to her, and she was fun to watch taking what life threw at her and making the best of it. Thankfully, it never came off as `Polyanna.' Where Lady Alina lost me is when it came to her romantic feelings towards the Baron. She barely knows him and starts spouting wisdom and advice about how he may have been a murderer but he's not a bad guy. She lusts for him so therefore she loves him. She knows his true heart even though he's been numb for years and has barely spoken to her. It all felt so cliché.
The mystery and danger plots weren't really well developed. It was disappointing that it all came down to a "villain confession" at the very end. It felt like an after thought as if it wasn't important other than a reason to push the hero and heroine together.
I really loved the secondary characters surrounding Justin and Alina. I absolutely adored Justin's valet Wigglesworth. What a hoot! Even the mute Brutus was awesome with his amazing brawn and surprising compassion. Alina's companion Tatiana was funny in her attempts to assist her lady.
This book is a stand alone book, however I still felt like I was missing out on something since I hadn't read any of the previous books. Several times the author made references to previous events I hadn't read about but she never paraphrased what she was referencing. Also, Justin made a comparison between Alina and the ladies of the other novels and how she's like each of them in some way: It just caused me to feel like all the other books would be the same.
The Daughtry Series
How to Woo a Spinster
How To Tempt A Duke
How To Tame a Lady
How to Beguile a Beauty (Hqn)
How to Wed a Baron