Friday, July 31, 2015

REVIEW: "The Marriage Act" by Alyssa Everett

The Marriage Act
The Marriage Act by Alyssa Everett

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Historical Romance -- Regency England

Carina Press -- Published on July 28, 2015
eARC, 245  pages
Read in July 2015
Received from Netgalley


Troubled Marriage, Road Romance, Big Misunderstanding

When John, Viscount Welford, proposed to Caroline Fleetwood, the only daughter of the Bishop of Essex, he thought he knew exactly what he was getting—a lovely, innocent bride.

Five years later, he knows better. The woman who ran to another man on their wedding night—after they'd consummated the marriage—is hardly innocent. Years spent apart while John served as a diplomatic attaché have allowed them to save face in society, but all good pretenses must come to an end. When Caroline receives word that her father is dying, she begs John to accompany her on one last journey to see him.

But there's an added problem—Caroline never told her father that her marriage to John was a farce. As they play-act for others, Caroline is delighted to find she never really knew her husband at all. But can she be the kind of wife he needs—and does she want to be?

"If you'll come with me, my lord," the butler said, "Miss Fleetwood is in the morning room."

I received a free copy of this book from Carina Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a difficult book to get my head around.  Overall, I enjoyed it and stayed up way too late one night to finish it which is usually a good sign.  There were just nagging things that kept popping up in my head while I was reading it that I couldn't ignore.  But, I guess that is also a sign of a well-written story that has me thinking about it long after completion.

The Marriage Act starts off with John, Viscount Welford asking Miss Caroline Fleetwood, the daughter of an esteemed bishop, to marry him.  John has fallen in love with her and is desperate to marry her in time to travel off to Vienna where he has been assigned in a diplomacy post.  Things unravel after the wedding night when Caro runs off to meet up with the man she is really in love with and is brought back by her heartbroken husband.  They live separate lives for the next five years, but are brought back together when Caro's father's health comes into question and she asks John to act like a loving husband in order to keep their marriage troubles a secret.

Let me start off by saying that I absolutely adored John!  He is so desperate for affection yet feels like he will never find it.  His heart was broken by Caro's betrayal and he reacted in anger as one could understand.  So, when Caro asks him to help her out, he can't say no to her and decides to just make the best of the situation.  What I really liked about his character was the growth that he achieved through this journey.  He learned how his actions are perceived by others and that he can often appear judgmental without meaning to.

Caro is a character who also had an emotional journey to take.  While I ended up liking her more by the end, she made it difficult for most of the book.  Her youthful folly was pretty egregious and she did take the "punishment" for it.  But, I had issues with her constant flip-flopping when it came to John and their marriage.  She claims to have grown up yet, every time John tried to explain his feelings, she pushed them aside.  I also did not appreciate her constant lying to John, her father, etc. which she finally admitted to at the last possible moment.

I do have to admit some admiration for the author for this story.  It is obvious that she intended for both John and Caro to have some major personality flaws that they needed to learn to overcome.  I also thought she did a good job of showcasing their character growth.  I guess I just wish that Caro's redemption hadn't come so late in the game especially since it was a source of frustration for me throughout the story.

The plot of this book could be divided into two parts.  The first section deals with Caro's reveal to John of her plan and their trip to her uncle's home (where her father is staying).  As with most road trips, there are plenty of hazards to deal with...physical and emotional.  The later half of the book has the couple arriving to visit Caro's father and pretending to be a happy couple.  I found myself liking the second part much more since that is when the characters made the most progress and learned to think of other people's feelings.  Though I could have done without Caro's annoying cousin, Sophia, who provided an interesting insight for Caro to see how foolish youthful declarations could be yet just spent most of her page time irritating the tar out of me.

After thinking about it, I can say that I would recommend Alyssa Everett's The Marriage Act due to the wonderful writing and the refreshing tone.  I do still have reservations regarding Caro's character, but it is possible that other readers may not see the same issues that I do.  I did find the story (as a whole) entertaining and will keep checking out more of Ms. Everett's books.

"Why would you want to keep that dreadful message from our wedding night?  It's one of my greatest regrets."
"Because you wrote it, Caro.  Insulting or not, it was all I had of you when I was in Vienna, my only remembrance of the one night we'd spent together before I left.  For that reason alone, I could never part with it."


  1. I have had my eye on this book for quite some time now. I do love that feeling when you read a book late in the night and can't put it down! That is definitely a good sign.

  2. Oh no, I know this book is not for me at all. But that's awesome that you stuck with it. Love the cover.


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