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The Match of the Century: Marrying the Duke…
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The Match of the Century: Marrying the Duke (edition 2015)

by Cathy Maxwell (Author)

Series: Marrying the Duke (Nov 2015 - Book 1)

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646326,088 (3.57)1
"Every debutante aspires to snag a duke. Elin Morris just happens to have had one reserved since birth. But postponements of her marriage to London's most powerful peer give Elin time to wonder how she will marry Gavin Baynton when she cannot forget his brother, Benedict"--Page [4] of cover.
Member:SharleneMartinMoore
Title:The Match of the Century: Marrying the Duke
Authors:Cathy Maxwell (Author)
Info:Avon (2015), 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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The Match of the Century by Cathy Maxwell

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"What do you offer Elin, Ben? And don't play the poet and say something ridiculous like 'your heart'. She is an intelligent young woman. One I shall be glad to call daughter. You say she deserves more than what Gavin can give her. I say she is worthy of more than a man who pouts."

That ladies and gentleman is a mom burn and how on target she was. If you follow my updates you'll know the first 30% or so was an engaging jammed pack story of childhood loves separated, a long standing betrothal to the wrong brother, murder attempts, and a serendipitous meet-up. The story was there, the characters just turned out to be shallow, bland, and whiny little things. Our hero is the younger brother and if this was a contemporary, he would have been dressed in blacks and listening to emo music. He pouts and whines about how his older brother the heir has all the advantages in life and is so lucky. He doesn't bother to recognize the pressure and responsibilities the brother also has. So with a woe is me hero, I turned to the heroine. Her parents push her to accept her betrothal to the duke because they think it is her destiny. She kind of blindly goes along with it and after she gets over her anger at the hero due to a sort of misunderstanding and she declares she luvs him, she still doesn't bother to tell the duke she wants to break the betrothal. She lets him cater to her all the while thinking about the brother (who she told she would break it off with his brother immediately).

These characters were put into a tough position of being star crossed lovers but the execution of them falling in love (since there isn't any flashbacks to their childhood and growing to love one another, it really felt like this couple just were in "luv" all of a sudden) and finding a way to be together was done in a way that had me being extremely unsympathetic to them. The murder mystery was meh, with it being pretty obvious and obviously thrown in there for a suspense touch but it wasn't drawn out enough. The shafted duke brother felt like more of the hero of the story. The elements for a dramatic emotional story was there but the characters execution was not.

Because I liked the duke brother so much I looked to see if his story was next, it's not, his missing twin brother is the next star. I read the excerpt and the duke has a love at first sight moment with the heroine...who is obviously going to be paired with the hero of the story, the twin. So again, the duke thinks he loves (he was attracted to and found himself fantasizing about the heroine in this book) someone, only to have them go to his brother. I don't think I'll be continuing with this series, not my cup of hot chocolate. ( )
  WhiskeyintheJar | Feb 14, 2019 |
I made it about 1/5 of the way in. The story seemed to be saying 'I raped you because I love you' which I do not find to be romantic. Thanks but no thanks.
  sweetfe | Jun 6, 2018 |
Completely awful, dnf. Clearly author either isn't familiar with regency period etiquette or just doesn't give a fig about accuracy. Vomitous. Reads like bad regency fanfic written by Bella from Twilight. ( )
  ElleyOtter | Nov 28, 2017 |
Good book with an unusual set of circumstances for the romance. Elin has been promised to Gavin, Duke of Baynton since she was born, a match arranged by their parents. Circumstances have caused several postponements of the marriage, but the time has finally arrived. But Elin isn't looking forward to the marriage, as she doesn't know him that well, plus she can't forget her feelings for Gavin's younger brother Ben.

Ben had been sent off to the military after it was discovered that he and Elin had been indiscreet together. Though he hadn't forgotten her, army life suited him and he was well on the way to an excellent career. Then his brother pulled strings, ending Ben's military career and forcing him home to take up family duties. Seeing Elin again reminds him of what he's lost, and how much he wants her back.

Ben's arrival coincides with the ball meant to announce Elin and Gavin's engagement. Harsh words are exchanged between Gavin and Ben, before tragedy brings the ball to an abrupt end. Furious with his brother, Ben disappears, while Elin tries to come to grips with his reappearance and her own feelings.

The three main characters, Gavin, Ben and Elin, were all complex individuals. At first I really didn't like Gavin at all. He seems cold and arrogant, more interested in appearances and his political work than in Elin. He was also unsympathetic to Ben's distress at losing his career. With Ben, I understood his fury at having his life interrupted. He knew that Elin was meant for his brother and the army kept him away so that he didn't have to face it. His disappearance after the confrontation seemed to be a rather over-the-top version of running away from home because he didn't like something, rather than stay and fight for what he wanted. Meanwhile, Elin knows that Gavin isn't what she wants. the life she'll have with him is one that makes her uncomfortable, but she sees no way out of it until Ben returns. But can she find a way to get what she wants without causing harm to others?

When the wedding is rescheduled and Elin called back to London for it, trouble finds her. On the road to London, her coach is attacked and she narrowly escapes being killed. Running from her pursuers, she luckily stumbles upon Ben, who has taken up with some local men. Ben is determined to protect her, and as they run from danger, their previous feelings return. I liked the way they finally talked about what had happened eight years earlier, and accepted that both had been young and naive. Older now, they know there are obstacles to being together, but they are determined to find a way.

However, being found together by Gavin puts them both in an awkward position until Elin can find a way to end her engagement. Gavin seems willfully blind to the sparks between them, seeing only that Elin would be perfect as his bride. It is also pointed out to Ben that he really has nothing to offer Elin, and he realizes that he has to make some changes if he wants to get the girl. I liked seeing him take charge of his life, and finally start acting like the man he should be. Meanwhile, Elin is worried about her father's health, and the effect breaking her engagement could have on him.

While all of this is going on, both Ben and Gavin are trying to figure out who is trying to kill Elin and why. Joining forces also gives them the opportunity to overcome the animosity that has been present between them since they were children. I did like seeing them actually begin to listen to each other, though they still had moments when old habits resurface. But they worked together beautifully when Elin was once again in danger. I have to say that the person behind the murder attempts was not a surprise, as I figured out pretty early who it was.

I loved the resolution of the love triangle, though I did feel rather sorry for Gavin. I thought he showed a lot of class as he did the right thing and let Elin go. I am looking forward to seeing him get his own story and hope that he gets someone who will shake him up a little. The epilogue was a great touch to bring it all together. ( )
  scoutmomskf | Apr 22, 2016 |
The Match of the Century is another solid historical/regency romance from the acclaimed Cathy Maxwell. I really can't say that I have ever read a book by Ms. Maxwell that I didn't like. I know that I am always going to get an engaging story with interesting characters.

Having started the series with A Little Thing Called Love, I was excited for this book featuring Elin, the daughter of our original couple, Fyclan and Jennifer Morris. Elin has grown up being told of the prophecy by Fyclan's Irish/Romany grandmother, that one day his descendants would be dukes and princes. Seemingly in line with this prophecy, in A Little Thing Called Love, the infant Elin is betrothed to the young son of the Duke and Duchess of Baynton, who were close family friends. Because the families were close, it is no surprise that Elin has grown up with the Baynton offspring. However, as a child, her best friend was not the heir (who was off learning to be a duke), but was instead the youngest son, Ben. Elin and Ben's relationship outgrew the mere friendship stage, which culminated in one inexperienced night together. After which, Ben leaves for the military and Elin does not hear from Ben for 8 years - until the night of her betrothal ball to the duke (Gavin).

While Elin was a solid female lead, I really had a stronger emotional connection to Ben. His pining for Elin and the contempt he felt for his position in life really jumped off the page and grabbed me. Ben was admirable for working his way up through the military, and I really felt for him when certain actions were taken by the duke and dowager duchess to bring him home to stand in Gavin's shadow. I could feel the frustration he felt at being so misunderstood and overlooked by his family.

Additionally, as much as I loved Ben, I also liked Gavin. Ms. Maxwell could have painted Gavin as a horrible and pompous duke, forcing the issue of the marriage no matter the feelings between his betrothed and his brother. However, Gavin was likable and I am really looking forward to his book. I think we will get to see a lot of new experiences and personal growth for him when the time comes.

Once thing about this book that shocked me was that I did not like the parents at all. As much as I loved them in A Little Thing Called Love, I hated them just as much here. Despite knowing that Elin was in love (or strong like) with Ben, they were foisting the marriage to the duke on her just because of an alleged prophecy. Both Fyclan and Jennifer seemed distant and uncaring to their daughter... like they only had enough room in their hearts to love each other and Elin was left out in the cold. The dichotomy from the first installment of the series was just odd and made me a little sad. But I will keep reading and hope that Gavin's book is as heartwarming as the first one of the series.

I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 4 stars / 2 flames. ( )
  Bambi_Unbridled | Mar 19, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cathy Maxwellprimary authorall editionscalculated
Wells, Mary JaneNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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"Every debutante aspires to snag a duke. Elin Morris just happens to have had one reserved since birth. But postponements of her marriage to London's most powerful peer give Elin time to wonder how she will marry Gavin Baynton when she cannot forget his brother, Benedict"--Page [4] of cover.

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