Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Review: A Marchioness Below Stairs by Alissa Baxter

Heidi Reads... A Marchioness Below Stairs by Alissa Baxter

My rating: 4 stars / I really liked it


Escaping from Bath and the news that her former love is about to marry another, Isabel, the young widowed Marchioness of Axbridge, accepts an invitation to her cousin’s house party. Yet, instead of finding respite, she stumbles into a domestic crisis of majestic proportions: The kitchen servants have succumbed to the influenza.

If that weren’t bad enough, her former sweetheart arrives with his fiancĂ©e, seeking shelter from the increasingly hazardous snow storm. Trapped inside Chernock Hall with a volatile mix of house guests, including abolitionists and slave owners, Isabel wishes she could hide below stairs for the duration. But, alas, she cannot. While helping in the kitchen, Isabel is cornered by her cousin’s disreputable friend, Marcus Bateman, who challenges and provokes her at every turn.

At last, the storm subsides. However, the avalanche of repercussions cannot be undone. Caught in the grip of the terrible winter of 1813, will Isabel’s greatest threat come from the weather, her abolitionist views, or from falling in love again?

My Review

There are a lot of things I liked about this book. Isabel's passion for abolition, her humility in helping her cousin by cooking for his house party, her sacrifices for her family, and her love of independence. The setting was easy to imagine and I appreciated the historical and period details sprinkled in. I didn't quite know how to take Mr. Bateman for a while (like Isabel) but as he proves himself devoted to her and supports her in ways nobody else did I came to like him more. He challenges her and is confident  enough to stand up to her. I didn't feel a connection to the emotions of the characters however, and felt a bit detached, even though the plot and banter were entertaining. Overall a great story and one I would recommend to fans of Regency romance.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)

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