Smart But Lacking Passion: Once Upon a Marquess by Courtney Milan

The last man Judith Worth wants to see again is Christian Trent, the Marquess of Ashford—the man who spent summers at her family home, who kissed her one magical night…and then heartlessly ruined her father. But when a tricky business matter arises, he’s the only one she can ask for help. With any luck, he’ll engage a servant to take care of the matter, and she won’t even have to talk with him.

But Ashford has never forgotten Judith. He knows she will never forgive him for what he’s done, but when offered the chance to assist her, he arrives in person. His memory of Judith may have haunted him, but it pales in comparison to the reality of the vivacious, beautiful woman he rediscovers. Throughout his life, he has always done what is correct. But now, he finds himself doing something utterly wrong…falling in love with the one woman he can never have.

Source: GoodReads

Historically speaking, Once Upon a Marquees works very well. I think if there is one author who is able to really make you feel like you’re back in the days of Victorian England it’s Courtney Milan. The thing is though, while I feel like the historical aspects about this book are just right—other things such as relationships are pushed aside.

Don’t get me wrong, this book has character development. Good character development. It is the opening book in the Worth saga, and I can tell that this is going to be an entertaining series. The thing is, is that while there was nice introduction to the characters—including the leads Judith and Christian. I felt like the characters just magically got together in the end and the audience didn’t really get to savor them together. Yes, there was one steamy scene with them, but it seemed more or less an after thought. And after they had their scene together, well, everything works out fine for them despite the fact that there are still some relatively big conflicts there.

Again, this might’ve been because this book was a part of a series but it left the book feeling incomplete. I really feel like Christian and Judith’s story needed something more than it got. Don’t get me wrong, the bare bones are there, it just didn’t feel like a complete novel at the end of the day.

Which was sort of sad.

On the other hand, I am delighted at the potential this series has all of the supporting cast was well done. I’m intrigued about Camilla’s story, and the other Worth siblings stories as well. But at the end of the day, Judith and Christian’s story came off more as a novella than a novel since while the courtship aspect was there the being in a relationship and dealing with difficulties wasn’t so much.

I am giving this one a reluctant B to a B-. It wasn’t bad. I liked it, but I just didn’t love it.