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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The Baron's Betrothal is a worthy follow up to The Duke's Tattoo: A Regency Romance of Love and Revenge, Though Not in That Order (The Horsemen of the Apocalypse Series). Like the hero of that novel, William Tyler de Sayre, Baron Clun is one of the so-called Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, named thus because of their audacity and courageous service during the Napoleonic Wars.

Our heroine, Lady Elizabeth Damogan is an independent-minded young woman who, at the beginning of the book, has fled London to escape the marriage that her father has arranged for her. Cleverly, she reasons that the last place anyone will look for her is on the estate of the man from whom she is hiding; and thus she ends up living in a small cottage on Clun's land in Shropshire.

Clun is a giant of a man - tall, dark and intimidating - and when he stumbles across Elizabeth for the first time, neither of them knows who the other is. Although they have been betrothed for the past year, they have never met. Clun soon discovers her identity, and decides to have a little fun at her expense by not immediately revealing himself to her, and teasing her about the decrepit state of her future husband.

While the pair experience a very strong physical attraction, they are also growing to like each other; and although Elizabeth is initially annoyed at Clun's deception, she is nonetheless pleased to discover that her intended is a man she could easily love, rather than the "toothless old macaroni" of Clun's description.

But therein lies the rub. Clun, the product of an unhappy marriage, his mother an incredibly bitter and malicious woman, doesn't want a love match. He wants a sensible marriage, unencumbered by emotional entanglements - his parents had supposedly married for love, but their marriage had very quickly turned to disaster and he wants none of it. So Clun and Eizabeth are at an impasse: he doesn't want love; she won't marry without it. And thus we have the basis of the on/off nature of their relationship.

London society being what it is, they can't avoid each other - and the more they see of each other, the more each realises the importance to them of the other. Clun and Elizabeth are a well-matched couple - her natural optimism counters his tendency to pessimism and while she is more than capable of standing up for herself (and has, in fact, had to be fairly self-reliant for her entire life), she nonethetless brings out - and quite likes - his protective side. Their encounters in the earlier part of the book sparkle with humour and good-natured teasing; and later, when things become fraught between them, their heartache and disappointment is palpable.

Both characters grow within the story, and their eventual HEA is well-deserved as they've both had to suffer and work for it. Elizabeth eventually comes to realise that if she is not to lose Clun altogether, then she will have to compromise on her insistence on love; Clun has to admit that he has, in fact, fallen head over heels and be prepared to trust Elizabeth with his heart.

Miranda Davis has a gift for writing spirited, witty dialogue and for creating likeable, well-drawn characters. In addition to the principals, she has created a strong supporting cast, which includes the other three "Horsemen" , Tyler Rodwell - Clun's half-brother and steward - Clun's harpy of a mother, Elizabeth's reclusive father and assorted bit-players, all of whom are deftly delineated.

If I have a reservation about the book, it's to do with the epilogue because I felt it was too much of a change in tone after Clun and Elizabeth had resolved their differences. I understand why it's there and the points it's intended to make; I just thought it was a rather traumatic - albeit perfectly reaslistic - way to make them.

I admit that although I enjoyed The Duke's Tattoo, I liked The Baron's Betrothal even more; the characters felt more naturalistic and the premise more plausible. It's warm and funny and by the end of the book, I felt confident that Clun and Elizabeth really were going to live "happily ever after" and I'm eagerly looking forward to the next instalment.

Disclaimer: I know the author, read this book in an earlier draft and have proof-read the final version. That said, this is an impartial review, based solely on the writing and content.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 3 March 2013
No need for a synopsis of this e book as two reviewers have written extensive and accurate plot outlines. I have found that a favourable review from 'caz of frinton' ensures a jolly good read and, once again, she does not disappoint. Many thanks Caz for saving me time and money. Having an English proof-reader has made this story mostly free from the Americanisms so common in this genre and there are few, if any, errors or typos. I found this to be very refreshing and this increased my reading pleasure immensely. Please, MD, do the same with book 3; we shoot grouse, we don't 'hunt' them and I cannot think of a single grouse moor in Somerset. Move the timeline to September and have them shoot partridge and delight all us pedants. That aside, I would recommend both this and the first in the series highly and look forward to reading the last two. I appreciated the author's notes being interested in the historical facts and wondered if they could not be footnotes? It's easy to stick a bookmark at the back of a printed book but time consuming finding the correct location in an e book. When enthralled by the story, as I was, it's an unwanted distraction and my memory is not what it was. Nitpicking over; a great story, lovely characters and very good value. I would urge lovers of this genre to treat themselves to the first two in the series, you won't regret it and it will give this new and, IMHO, very talented author impetus to finish book 3. I can't wait to read the last two.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 February 2013
Blurb: Poor William Tyler de Sayre, Lord Clun, finds true love while hoping to avoid the catastrophe altogether by arranging a marriage to someone he's never met. At the same time, Lady Elizabeth Chapin Damogan, whose father betrothed her to the baron without so much as a `by your leave,' will be damned if she marries a man she's never met, much less a man who refuses to consider the possibility of love.

This is the story of two very determined people learning to recognize that not all of their preconceptions about love and marriage are necessarily correct.

Our hero is William Tyler de Sayre, Baron Clun. He is dauntingly large, with a wild mane of black hair, a gruff manner of speaking, and a habit of scowling out from under his dark brows. Ladies and gentlemen alike find him intimidating, particularly given the fame he has earned as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, renowned for their ferocious exploits in the wars against Napoleon.

Clun has returned from the wars unscathed and is mindful of his duty to marry and beget an heir. He has no interest in subjecting himself to the "full horrors of the Marriage Mart," so he arranges with the Earl of Morefield to marry his daughter, Lady Elizabeth Damogen. Clun has never met the lady, but he doesn't need to. In his view, a "marriage required mutual honor, respect and wifely obedience. He wanted a sound marriage free of nincompoopery so he selected a spouse as his forebears had, based on rational considerations alone."

Clun most assuredly does not want a marriage like his parents had. "Their marriage, begun in the heat of impulse, had curdled like fresh milk on a hot day and left a permanently sour taste in the mouths of man and wife ever after." The final straw was when old Lord Clun insisted that his illegitimate son (born before his marriage) live with them after the boy's mother died. Lady Clun was incensed. His father soon fled to London and lived out the rest of his life in contentment with his housekeeper; Clun rarely saw his father after that. From his mother, he received nothing but bitterness. The closest thing to love that Clun has ever experienced is his feeling for his half-brother, who serves as steward of Clun's estate, along with unique affection, forged in war, that he shares with his three comrades.

Lady Elizabeth Damogen meanwhile has had a different experience. Her mother and father dearly loved one another, but her mother died in childbirth. Thereafter, the earl devoted himself to his wife's memory and to the study of etymology and left Elizabeth's upbringing to a kindly widowed cousin. Mrs. Abeel taught her all of the things a lady was expected to know but also taught her to think for herself. Lady Elizabeth is well read, highly perceptive, empathetic, pretty but no great beauty, and rather tall. She's no busybody, but she does like to "help" her friends when she sees a need. She's had one season, but it didn't amount to much. Her father was concerned that she might fall prey to a fortune hunter, so Lord Clun's proposal suited him exactly.

The arrangement did not suit Elizabeth, however, and although she is devoted to her father, she is incensed to learn that he has bound her to this unknown lord, who for all she knows is a doddering old fool who feeds the hounds from the table. She reckons there must be something awful about him if he's unable to attract a wife from among the ladies of his acquaintance. She resents being "bartered away like a prize heifer," so when she hears that he is in London and ready to marry, she flees London and hides out in the last place anyone would expect - a remote cottage on the vast estate of Lord Clun himself.

And there begins our tale - when Lord Clun and Lady Elizabeth meet by happenstance, neither at first knowing who the other is. Lady Elizabeth proudly tells Clun that she plans to hide out there until she reaches her majority and can do as she pleases. Clun is intrigued, and strangely attracted to this outspoken woman. Secretly, he is pleased that his bride is not the "horse-faced, ham-ankled" woman he had expected. Lady Elizabeth finds this country bumpkin, "sculpted like a Roman athlete," rather appealing, which only reinforces her determination not to marry a foolish old baron who is too much of a spineless coward to propose marriage in person.

Clun, thinking to have a little fun, does not reveal his true identity to Lady Elizabeth. As he gets better acquainted with her, though, he learns that she is determined to marry for love or not at all. She wants a husband who will love her forever, the way her father loved her late mother. When Lady Elizabeth eventually learns who Clun really is, she is at first furious at his deception, but then she realizes that she might come to love him and he her. The rest of this book is the touching, frustrating, truly on-again, off-again story of Clun and Elizabeth figuring out whether and how they can find a happy ending together. They laugh, argue, dance, and struggle to appreciate one another's hopes and fears.

This book is quite different from the light-spirited The Duke's Tattoo: A Regency Romance of Love and Revenge, Though Not in That Order (The Horsemen of the Apocalypse Series). This romance is darker, more troubled, more complicated, and ultimately more affecting than the first book. At the same time, though, it is filled with the humor and sparkling dialogue that made The Duke's Tattoo so engaging. The secondary characters are deftly drawn - including Clun's half-brother, Tyler Rodwell, his ghastly mother, and Lady Elizabeth's sweet but withdrawn father.

We see more of the other three Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and I'm eager to read the stories of Lord Seelye and Mr. Percy. The (tattooed) Duke and Duchess of Ainsworth play an important role in bringing Clun and Elizabeth to their happy ending, and the Epilogue features a somber reminder of the dangers of childbirth in the early 19th century, as the Horsemen await the birth of the Ainsworths' twins. It's all HEA, though, of course.

By the end of the book, I liked Lady Elizabeth immensely, but I just flat fell in love with Clun. I want to time-travel back to 1815 and marry him myself!

Miranda Davis has a marvelous talent for creating fascinating characters, putting just the right words in their mouths, and setting a plot that keeps the reader engaged. This story is just lovely, and if the last paragraph doesn't put a lump in your throat, then why are you reading romance?

Full disclosure: I've never met the author, but we have become friends on Goodreads. I read an earlier draft of this book, made a few observations, and helped proof the final version.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant! Laughted all the way through, just the thing to brighten a rainy day, almost as good as The Duke's tattoo. I am now looking forward to the next 2 books J Boon
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 April 2013
I found this, the second book in the Horsemen of the Apocalypse series, even better than the first (The Duke's Tattoo: A Regency Romance of Love and Revenge, Though Not in That Order (The Horsemen of the Apocalypse Series) ) and laughed out loud at some of the "tricks" played on the feisty heroine before she learned the true identity of the hero ("albino monkey paws" anyone??!). Ms. Davis writes well, keeps the plot zinging along, and her characters really draw you into the story. She maintains the alliance of the Four Horsemen through various sub-plots that make this not only a great book in its own right, but also a fitting epilogue to the Duke's Tattoo. I can't wait to read Book 3 in the series!
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on 5 March 2013
I have a habit of reading series of books out of order and this is no exception, so I hadn't read The Duke's Tattoo before buying this. I was drawn to The Baron's Batrothal first thanks to the appealing full title (her great titles - including the wonderfully witty and engaging chapter titles - are something I really like about Miranda Davis)and the interesting premise.

The book drew me in from the very first page. I thought both the H and h and the secondary characters were very well developed. Clun and Elizabeth in particular were well drawn and Miranda Davis makes you genuinely understand them, their motivations and the reasons for their preconceived ideas and you can't help but care what happens to them.

Davis has a fresh and appealing style and this book just feels different to many others I have read (and I do read lots of books).

Clun is just delicious and his use of a pet name for Elizabeth makes you really feel the beginning of his fondness for her.

Davis'lovely descriptive style, amusing and sparkling dialogue between the various characters, but particularly Clun and Elizabeth who have a fab chemistry.

The H and h's internal struggle with their ideas and ideals could feel frustrating but it doesn't, there's just the right amount of interaction and understanding peeking through the misunderstandings and preconceptions.

I loved seeing the two different perspectives on certain events, swapping between Clun and Elizabeth's thoughts and the impact certain occurances had on them made it easier to both understand them and to follow their journey. It's nice to have both the Hand h's viewpoints fully explored.

Generally I just thought this was a wonderful book. Having also now read the first (wonderful...naturally!) and incredibly unique book in this series, I'm eagerly awaiting the tale of the third of the four fabulous Horsemen!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 April 2013
Thank you Miranda - I purchased Elizabeth and the Baron on the 2nd April and here it is the 3rd of April and it is well and truly read and enjoyed. Unlike another reviewer I found the tension resulting from this on/off relationship a natural result based on the nature of the two characters.
I really enjoy the wit and descriptive writing. I could visualise the bearskin quite clearly.
Do we really have to wait 2-3 years for your next?

Thanks again
Alison
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 February 2013
The Baron's Betrothal is a brilliant follow up to The Duke's Tattoo. The story grabbed my attention from the opening pages and I found it hard to put down. It is every bit as good as the first book (which is one of my favourites). The other Horsemen of the Acocalypse are featured as well, teasing Clun mercilessly. I can't wait for the remaining stories. I enjoyed reading this book and it is value for money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2013
I really enjoyed the first book ( there was a slight issue with a chipmunk or some such anachronism) but on the whole her books are free of the usual Americanisms. This story was just as good and I very much liked the characters and totally believed in their emotions and behaviour. I like the way the author writes and am very keen to see her next book in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 April 2013
A most enjoyable read in the Georgette Heyer style. All are loveable characters except Clun's mother and a great follow on from the Duke's tattoo. Am looking forward to the next book. If you have not read the Duke's tattoo then buy this book as it will make you laugh out loud. Very well done.
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