The Misbehaving Marquess - Leigh LaValle Quick, satisfying novella about love and the power of forgiveness.

Full review

I have been in the mood for shorter reads, so when I saw The Misbehaving Marquess on Netgalley, I put in a request for it. I have been reading so many contemporary romances, too, and thought it would be a nice change to try a historical. Though I thought the conflict between the protagonists was a little weak, this turned out to be a satisfying read about a husband and wife who allowed pride to get in the way of their happiness.

Catherine has been waiting five long, lonely years for the return of her husband, Jamie. Jamie left the country in a snit, and hasn’t been back since. Why did he leave in a huff? Because Cat, in an effort to save her friend from being ruined, was caught in a compromising situation instead. While a united front and a lot of PR could have staved off the worst of the rumors, Jamie decides to believe the worst of his wife and allows his ego to rule the day. Off he storms, not to be heard from – again, for five years. Ugh. Cat had every right to be pissed at her husband for not even bothering to hear her side of the story. This was especially disappointing because Cat and Jamie had been best friends for years prior to their marriage. Cat is now a seething, simmering mass of rage because Jamie was off pouting for so long, traveling the world like a spoiled brat with nary a letter spared for his wife. When he does show up back home on his estate, he doesn’t even bother to let her know he’s back. Nope! Add another straw to the camel’s already straining back!

Cat learns that Jamie’s back for one reason – he needs an heir. And isn’t that just too bad? There was so much anger between these characters that I wondered how they would ever find a way to sooth the hurt feelings and misunderstandings raging between them. In addition to all of their other problems, Cat is also fearful that Jamie will put an end to her pet project – providing widows and their children with a way to be independent. She’s refurbished the tenant cottages on the estate and had a small workshop made so the women can make lace. I enjoyed this story thread and thought it rounded out Cat’s character. I actually cared about her succeeding in this venture, and wondered if Jamie, who has already proven to be a bit of a brat who didn’t care about anyone but himself, would interfere.

Once Cat and Jamie opened a dialog with each other, I started to hope that they could work through their problems, because they really did care for each other, and that’s the reason they were so angry with each other. While I have a few doubts about their HEA, I mean, Jamie’s already ditched Cat once, for an extended period of time, without bothering to even hear her side of the story, I did enjoy this novella. I’d like to read a longer book by Leigh LaValle in the future.

Grade: B