Review of “The Match of the Century” (Marrying the Duke #1) by Cathy Maxwell

Maxwell, Cathy. The Match of the Century. New York: Avon Books, 2015. ISBN-13: 978-0-06-238861-2. Print List Price: $7.99.

5 stars

I had previously read one or two Cathy Maxwell books, but I did not keep up with her, a fact which I now regret. I found the premise of this series engaging, and as a first book, it was very well executed.

Romances where the plot revolves around a love triangle can be somewhat hit-or-miss, especially as the “other person” who is keeping the couple apart is often portrayed as vile and two-dimensional. But Maxwell, with the plan of making the duke a hero, makes him sympathetic and, despite initially seeming like the stern duke (one of the reasons I tend to dislike duke books), you get a sense that this is something Gavin was conditioned to be, not who he truly is. And you can already tell he is going to be a unique romance hero, in that, unlike many of his peers in Romancelandia, he is a virgin hero who believes in love.

Ben, while much wilder at the outset, is much the same in that aspect. I was unsure how much I would like him when I first read the account of what happened between them in the past from Elin’s perspective, but I felt that Maxwell crafted realistic enough circumstances to tear them apart, then bring them back together.

I loved Elin, especially her love for her family. I did think the parents were kind of hypocritical, but especially since the mother’s choice to marry beneath her did pay off. But it did feel believable that a family would try to better themselves through their child’s marriage, so it wasn’t something that massively bothered me.

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