At the age of twenty, Lord Marcus Finley, second son to a Marquis, was a hellion, so his father, Lord Dunwood, banished him to the West Indies until he could gain some sense. In the days prior to his setting sail, Finley got so drunk that he groped Lady Pheobe Stanhope, a girl too young to be introduced to society. The arrogant, but smitten Marcus assumed that he could swoop her up and bring her along with him in his exile (after a scandalous elopement). The appalled and disgusted Phoebe had other ideas, and Lord Marcus left with a bloody nose, a black eye, and an ear full of remonstrations that he try thinking of others instead of himself. “Leave this house now. I never want to see you again” were her parting words. Who knew that Pheobe’s brother Gregory, Earl of Cranbourne would marry Amabel, Lord Marcus’ sister?
Eight years later, arriving on his ship – The Lady Phoebe – Lord Finley returns home as his older brother Arthur is dying of consumption. Phoebe, now 23, flees to London before Marcus can visit her brother’s home, where by chance she is twice rescued by a gallant gentleman who stirs her heart. Much to her chagrin, after developing feelings for the man, she discovers this knight in shining armor is none other than Lord Marcus Finley. He pleads his case, apologizing for his past poor behaviors and begging that she give him a second chance to win her favor. She reluctantly agrees to let him woo her, but with no promises that the courtship will end in marriage. The women in her family aim to keep Phoebe safe from scandal, while the men vow to assist Marcus in his endeavor. With so much family interference in their lives it’s a wonder Marcus is able to proclaim his love and slowly awaken Phoebe’s passion with stolen kisses at various venues. Unfortunately, she wants to take it slow, while he’s ready for wedding bells, although he is willing to jump through hoops to gain her forgiveness and earn her love.
The Seduction of Lady Phoebe by Ella Quinn is an excellent example of a Regency Romance at its best – containing witty dialogue, interesting characters, entertaining interactions, plus some drama and intrigue as the evil actions of a malevolent suitor threaten the protagonists’ happiness. This is the first book of the Marriage Game series and Quinn has set the bar for future books quite high. Four stars.