Review: Notorious (Book #1: (Rebels of the Ton Series) by Minerva Spencer


The cure for a willful wife…

Drusilla Clare is full of opinions about why a woman shouldn’t marry. But that doesn’t stop the rush of desire she feels each time her best friend’s brother, notorious rake Gabriel Marlington, crosses her path. So imagine her dismay when she finds herself in the clutches of a scoundrel, only to be rescued by Gabriel himself. And when Gabriel’s heartless—and heart-pounding—proposal comes, it’s enough to make Dru’s formidable resolve crumble…

…is a smitten husband.

She’s sharp-tongued, exasperating—and due to one careless moment—about to become his wife. Still, something about Drusilla has Gabriel intrigued. First there’s the delicious flush of her skin every time she delivers a barb—and then the surprisingly sensual feel of her in his arms. Gabriel even finds himself challenged by her unusual philosophies. And when he discovers a clandestine rival for Dru’s affection, his temperature flares even hotter. But the real threat to their happiness is one neither of the newlyweds sees coming. If they’re to save their future—and their very lives—they’ll need to trust in each other and their growing love.

Source: NetGalley and Purchase Rating: 4½/5 stars

Gabriel Marlington has spent his life as an outsider.  Oh, make no mistake, the Ton puts on quite a show of accepting him, but mothers everywhere are certainly not clamoring for their daughters to marry Gabriel despite his title and fortune.  In truth, there is only woman who would be beyond pleased to marry Gabriel Marlington, but she certainly isn’t going to tell him that!

Drusilla Clare is, much like Gabriel, a grudgingly accepted member of the Ton.  She is ridiculously wealthy, cultured, witty, and intelligent, but her father made their fortune as a shop owner.  Yes, Dru’s money comes from good old fashioned hard work rather than inheritance, and for that, she is largely shunned.  The exception to the shunning is Dru’s best friend who also happens to be Gabriel’s stepsister.  For years now, Dru has been among Gabriel’s family and though she has grown to love Gabriel, she has no intention of making her feelings known.  Gabriel has always made it quite clear, Dru is little more than a mouthy irritant who is only worth his time when he is in the mood for a little verbal sparring.

Fate is a funny figure and while she often appears capricious or even fickle, it often turns out she knows better than most and her actions are reasonable once the whole event plays out.  Of course, in the beginning, folks like Dru and Gabrielle have no compassion nor understanding for Fate and her machinations, especially when they find themselves unexpectedly engaged following circumstances beyond their control. 

Oh, yes!  While Dru is secretly pleased with her circumstances in some ways, she also feels terrible to be tying Gabriel to a life he clearly doesn’t want.  Though her feelings are certainly mixed, Dru decides she will do her level best to make the best of the situation even if her new husband isn’t willing to do so.  For his part, Gabriel is determined to make the best of the situation even if his new wife clearly has no desire to be with him.  Wouldn’t it be some kind of wonderful if the two actually spoke to one another? 😊  Of course, actually talking to one another would eliminate a great deal of the drama and tension and make this read so much less fun!

The Bottom Line:  I quite liked this book, and I especially liked the very feisty nature of Dru and Gabriel; both are strong-willed, opinionated characters who are actually perfectly suited for one another if they can get past their own hang ups.  Adding to the tension of this read is the mess created by a particularly odious member of the Ton whose goal in life is seemingly to ruin Gabriel.  With all the intrigue and reckless behavior, it is hard for Gabriel and Dru to come together as a couple; on the flip side, all the intrigue and reckless behavior also creates a wonderful dynamic that also (eventually) draws them together.  I found the whole affair to be quite entertaining and am quite glad the Ton is full of characters just waiting to tell their own story.

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