Not so Sweet Maria by Jessica Spencer
LOVE UNDER MISTAKEN IDENTITY.
The ton calls her Sweet Maria and, even in her fourth Season, eligibles continue to offer her marriage. They do not know Lady Maria despises the hypocritical ways of Polite Society and is trying to sail away to America!
Though the granddaughter of a duke, Lady Maria is a Child of Scandal because her mother was an American commoner. She blames the duke and the duchess for her parents’ death. Had they not disowned them, they would not have died of a virulent fever in America, leaving her an orphan at the age of five.
She has not forgotten the coldness she had met with as a child, and how there were those who examined her features for tainted blood, and disparaged her mother to her face.
She agrees to an arranged match to ward off her persistent suitors, treating the engagement as a sham one to be ended at her convenience.
Then, most unexpectedly, she finds love with a commoner. Only he isn’t a commoner but the Earl of Daventon.
Gareth, Earl of Daventon is no stranger to Scandal. Rumour has it that his father had banished his mother for adulterous behavior. He remembers his mother as a sweet, gentle woman and knows the late earl yearned until his last breath to have her back.
Love is a quagmire and I shall not be caught in it, he decides. But love finds him. The object of his ardour is a mysterious young woman who dresses like a shop girl and behaves like a lady.
Lord Daventon remedies the situation by accepting an arranged match, his betrothed being Lady Maria whom he hasn’t met.
All of which leads to a delightful tangle of affairs.
Not so Sweet Maria was a cute story that I read really quickly. As the story went on, I wondered if the main characters were going to reveal their true identities, and how the story would work once they did.
This wasn't a deep story, but was enjoyable fluff reading.
I was left with a few unanswered questions (Maria's money not being recovered or Stubbs found), but neither were probably very important. Just a few loose ends that I was curious about.
I'd probably read it again if I had the time. It was clean, with likable characters, and a story that dealt with old hurts being mended.
I was super intrigued by the description of the book. I love a good clean regency novel. However, I'm going to say that the cover was a huge turn off for me. He looks like he is going to bite her or something, and it just isn't something that I would grab off the shelf and be curious about. I would look at it and say, "Ew", and put it back on the shelf.
While I did enjoy the storyline, I was really bugged by the switching of first person to third person (maybe I'm wrong on which is which, but it switched tenses, and that really bothered me).
I didn't really fall in love with any of the characters so it ended up just being a story I finished because I had the time. Maria, while I liked that she was willing to work and save for a goal, wasn't super nice. I never saw the qualities in her that the rest of the Ton seemed to see. Gareth was OK. Which was part of the problem. He was just OK, nothing great, nothing awful, just eh.
But it was clean, and in my book it gets stars just for that.
Title: Not so Sweet Maria
Author: Jessica Spencer
Publisher: Unit Books
Published: June 2017
Source: We received eCopies from the author in exchange for an honest review.