I was so looking forward to reading Book #9 of Ella Quinn’s Regency Romance The Marriage Act series about how Kit Featherton’s younger sister Meg finally finds true love after two disastrous experiences with less than noble men. Yet the cleverness of the other books is not present in Miss Featherton’s Christmas Prince. The main characters are simply dull, which makes reading the first half of the book a dead bore. Where are the smart independent women such as Pheobe and Anna? Meg and best friend Amanda seem to be pathetic creatures who are just waiting around for their Prince Charming. Yes, Margaret Elizabeth Lucinda Featherton has sworn off love, but her constant moaning and resistance to the attentions of Damon, Marquis of Hawksworth is annoying. One wonders why he even bothers. Yet he isn’t Lord Exciting either. When the back stories are the most interesting parts of a novel, you know something is wrong. Thank goodness for the antics of perennial favorite Lady Almeria Bellamny (Damon’s godmother) and her friends Constance, the Dowager Duchess of Bridgewater and Lucinda, the Dowager Countess Featherton (Meg’s grandmama) who had hatched out the match a whole year earlier. When Damon finally unleashes Meg’s passionate side, there is a betrothal, although the wedding won’t occur until Margaret actually falls in love with her “Prince” (Damon has inherited a distant spot in The Greek Royal chain from his mother).
Luckily the story picks up during the last third of the book when Damon’s father, the Duke of Somerset, shows up at the Featherton home and tries to underhandedly prevent the marriage. Finally Meg shows some gumption, and while putting the man in his place, she realizes that Hawksworth is the husband she always wanted. Meg’s family and the antics of Damon’s father, demonstrate that this was a good story which got lost in the telling.
There were numerous ways to have spiced up this book. Quinn should have tightened up the beginning sections and then expanded on the interactions between the Feathertons and Somersets. Then there is the tale about one of the villainous suitors, Lord Tarlington, who really wasn’t such a bad person, just a weak man caught in a vulnerable situation. I would have liked to have seen his character be given a larger role. Also, when Mary and Kit Featherton (from A Kiss for Lady Mary, Book #8) eventually arrived on the scene, they are only given a bit part when they should have been more predominately featured. However, I did enjoy all the details surrounding the traditions of an English Christmas celebration.
The conclusion occurs five months later with all the characters from the previous books joining the married pair, now expecting their first child, for a final tribute as Quinn ends the saga. Too bad this series goes out on such a low note, especially since these are all such likable characters. Of course, there is the promise of an additional future series involving the prodigy of these fertile couples. It is amazing to realize that all nine escapades occur in less than a five year span taking us throughout England, to the West Indes, and into various parts of Europe. A worthy endeavor!
I am giving this book three stars, because the action did pick up at the end, even though the entire novel could have been better constructed. I received this ARC from Netgalley and Kensington Books in exchange for an honest review.