When you’re the oldest daughter, you don’t get to have any fun!
Witty, orphaned Tess Essex faces her duty: marry well and marry quickly, so she can arrange matches for her three sisters — beautiful Annabel, romantic Imogen and practical Josie. After all, right now they’re under the rather awkward guardianship of the perpetually tipsy Duke of Holbrook. But just when she begins to think that all might end well, one of her sisters bolts with a horse-mad young lord, and her own fiancé just plain runs away.
Which leaves Tess contemplating marriage to the sort of man she wishes to avoid — one of London’s most infamous rakes. Lucius Felton is a rogue whose own mother considers him irredeemable! He’s delicious, Annabel points out. And he’s rich, Josie notes. But although Tess finally consents to marry him, it may be for the worst reason of all. Absurd as she knows it to be, she may have fallen utterly in love . . .
My heart for Eloisa James’ romance novels, it’s strong and full of heart eyes. Much Ado About You is no different in love either. Much Ado About You starts off with Tess, who while under guardianship of a Duke when her father dies, knows she needs to marry quickly for the safety of her three younger sisters. The Duke of Holbrook was happy to take care of the four girls, but under a weird misconception, believes them to be young kids instead of the older ages that they are. This doesn’t stop him though, and he is still happy to care for them. While I expected Tess to find love with the Duke that she is under the care of, who is hilarious and often tipsy, she doesn’t. She actually finds love with Lucius, which is something that I would have known if I would have read the description.
But Lucius, who is friends with Duke of Holbrook, finds Tess beautiful, breathtaking even; but what he finds even more breathtaking is her horse. Yes, her horse, that is also her dowery, because that’s how twisted her father was. Her father was obessed with horses and instead of concentrating on the four girls growing up in a household where they have a chance of being properly married he concentrated on horses. This is understandably something the girls are a bit snarky about. But this horse is important to Lucius and because of this Tess is interesting. Tess of course gives no shits about him and wonders why he wants her so much.
But slowly, in Tess’ mind the worst happens, she has fallen in love with him, a confirm bachelor. Everyone is confused about this match, but their eyes quickly move when Tess’ sister, Imogen, runs away with a lord Imogen has loved forever. Because of this scandal Tess becomes engaged to a completely different man, who is, to put it nicely, an asshole. But because she is the elder sister and the mother figure, she knows this is her duty. Rafe, the Duke of Holbrook, feels horrible about the situation that the girls end up in, because this is not what he signed up for and what he knows is something they have not signed up for. When Tess’ fiance leaves, Lucius volunteers to marry her. When she calls him out on it, the marriage, because she believes it’s only for the horse, he’s shocked that she honestly thought that, because in his own way, he has fallen for her.
What James has done is create a very realistic historical fiction novel that had me swept up in their story wanting more from Lucius and Tess.