A Most Unsuitable Man (Signet Historical Romance) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Feb 2005
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Gloriously romantic. (Mary Balogh) Storytelling at its best! ("Rendezvous")
About the Author
Jo Beverley is widely regarded as one of the most talented romance writers today. She is a four-time winner of Romance Writers of America's cherished RITA Award and one of only a handful of members in the RITA Hall of Fame. She has also recieved the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award. Born in England, she now lives with her husband and two sons in Victoria, British Columbia, just a ferry ride away from Seattle, WA.
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Damaris Myddleton has just inherited her ruthless father's fortune. And having lived quietly in the country near penury all these years, has decided that what she wants is to belong to the glittering world of the aristocracy. But in order to do that she would have to marry a titled gentleman. And after careful consideration, she settles on the impoverished Marquess of Ashart. Except that Ashart, having fallen in love with his aunts' companion, Genova Smith, opts to marry Genova instead, much to Damaris' humiliation. Now she must look for some other impoverished aristocrat to marry. Definitely she shouldn't waste any time of Ashart's good friend, Mr. Fitzroger. An adventurer, with a scandalous past and no money, Mr. Fitzroger is exactly the sort of person she should avoid. Except for the fact that he seems to understand her completely, that he makes her pulses and has agreed to stand her friend. Thrown together by unforeseen circumstances, Damaris and Fitzroger find themselves working together to untangle a tantalising secret; and the more Damaris comes to know Fitzroger, the more she begins to wonder about her plan to marry a title. After all, shouldn't an heiress be able to buy what she wants? And if she should want an adventurer who fires her blood and who matches her in intelligence and temperament, what's to stop her...
I've always preferred Jo Beverly's Georgian romances to her Regency-ear ones. Perhaps it's because she's given her Georgian heroes and heroines different temperaments from her Regency ones. Somehow, her Georgian heroes usually expect the heroines to be intelligent and independent and courageous, and all bent out of shape if the heroine actually has a thought in her head! This was definitely the case in "A Most Suitable Man." Damaris and Fitzroger were (obviously) a perfectly matched pair: Fitzroger was noble and honourable, while Damaris was determined and courageous. Each appreciated the other's sterling qualities, and worked well together to achieve their goal. And this, more than anything else, raised the passionate romance that developed between them to the level of a "once-in-a-lifetime-love." So that all in all, I'd vote this as a romance novel not to be missed, and a definite keeper.
Damaris Myddleton is the daughter of a wealthy merchant who was "little better than a pirate" and an heiress with a mission--to marry as high up in the aristocracy as her vast fortune will allow. After single-mindedly pursuing the cash-strapped Marquess of Ashart, she suffers the humiliation of having Ashart publicly announce his betrothal to his aunt's beautiful but impoverished companion, Genova Smith, at the Malloren family Christmas celebration. To hide her shame, Damaris tries to flee Rothgar Abbey only to be stopped in her foolish flight by Ashart's friend, Octavius Fitzroger. Fitzroger is a handsome, penniless adventurer with a scandalous past--"most unsuitable" husband material but sooooo attractive and supportive that Damaris finds herself drawn to him.
Fitzroger is a first-class hero--honorable, intelligent, brave, and gorgeous. Only barely tolerated in society because of a *very* scandalous incident in his youth, Fitz is a loyal friend to Ashart and is secretly acting as his bodyguard. Damaris is not your run-of-the-mill heroine. An unabashed social climber who has had her lawyers draw up dossiers on eligible, impoverished peers, she goes after what she wants with impressive single-mindedness. When Fitzroger surprises her with a kiss, she surprises him right back by pushing him down and kissing him *very* thoroughly. She is a smart, passionate, determined young lady and I liked her alot. Charmingly, Damaris and Fitz are attracted to qualities in each other that other people tend to overlook or find unattractive.
The story moves along well with sub-plots of attempted murders and undisclosed royal marriages, but the book is truly about Damaris coming to realize that what she really should use her fortune to pursue is her own heart's desire.
In summary, this is an exceptionally good Georgian period romance with a compelling hero and heroine. I usually don't like pictures of the hero on the cover of my books (because they are nearly always so very cheesy), but I have to admit the cover model on this one is a hottie.
Rothgar also hired Fitzroger to keep Ash safe from an unknown assailant. As Fitz watches over Ash and Damaris spends time with Genova, they become acquainted and begin to fall in love, which interferes with his task. It helps though frustrates Fitz that she wants a title so he is A MOST UNSUITABLE MAN for a social climber like her.
The latest Malloren tale is a fine Georgian romance but readers at first will be very cold towards the heroine until she is endangered. The story line is fast-paced on two sub-plots that of the romance between Fitz and Damaris and the attempts to kill Ash. Jo Beverley effortlessly brings these two themes together along with the return of cast from previous novels into a finely honed historical.
Not quite, but close enough.
Damaris, (lovely name) last seen shrieking & threating in the original book has a wonderful background to unveil as a plausible explanation for her grasping behaviour.
Her father was a merchant and varment of the high seas, and Damaris unabashedly shares his piratical tendencies. A girl after my own heart - in fact, just as ungracious at accepting a compliment. Applauded on her name, Damaris states baldly, "it means heifer in Greek". ..
So, likeable although occasionally dense heroine, handsome and clever hero - oh yes, a little about him. Fitzroger is a bit of a henchman for the redoubtable Malloren Duke, as well as being the good friend and sometime hanger-on for the man Damaris had planned to marry, Ashart.
Terribly honorable, not a bit servile and a wonder with the rapier!
And the plot, the plot the plot. Well... Damaris has been a bit of a vixen in the previous book and now must overcome her somewhat nasty reputation to make a suitable match. Being the girl she is, she determines to make the best match she can ie, the highest title she can purchase and has the notion to buy a Duke.
Reality steps in the way a little when she must realise that she doesn't in fact want a Duke, and there are plenty of obstacles to be overcome, such as a lurking menace which Fitzroger is meant to guard against.
And we all know how the heroine must fall in love with her guard!