How I Married a Marquess by Anna Harrington

This RITA® Reader Challenge 2017 review was written by Fangirl Musings. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Long Historical category.

The summary:

Josephine Carlisle, adopted daughter of a baron, is officially on the shelf. But the silly, marriage-minded misses in the ton can have their frilly dresses and their seasons in London, for all she cares. Josie has her freedom and her family . . . until an encounter with a dark, devilishly handsome stranger leaves her utterly breathless at a house party. His wicked charm intrigues her, but that’s where it ends. For Josie has a little secret . . .

Espionage was Thomas Matteson, Marquess of Chesney’s game-until a tragic accident cost him his career. Now to salvage his reputation and return to the life he loves, the marquess must find the criminal who’s been robbing London’s rich and powerful. He’s no fool-he knows Josie, with her wild chestnut hair and rapier-sharp wit, is hiding something and he won’t rest until he unravels her mysteries, one by one. But he never expected to be the one under arrest-body and soul . . .

Here is Fangirl Musings‘s review:


I got 99 fangirl emotions right now and 0 chill, because daaaaamn this book was a firecracker of fun! On the surface it ain’t nothing new; girl meets boy, boy needs to arrest girl, girl & boy have pants-feelings that lead to heart-boners that result in all the things.

Mr Shady-As-Fuck orphanage owner hires our swoony-pants hero, Thomas, to catch a bad guy. The thing is though, the bad guy ain’t a dude! It’s a bad girl and she ain’t bad; she’s Robin Hood. Hell, Josie is better than Robin Hood cause she makes assholes pay their child support!

Oh. And she be queeeeeeeen!

Thomas: Why rob only the men? Why not also collect from the women?

Josie: Because men control the money. A woman possesses only what a man allows her to have.


I kid, I kid, I don’t judge. But our darling is gloriously glorious! She’s tricked every Joe Schmoe in the county into believing that she is incompetent, but pfffft. Lies!

Josie kicks literal ass with her strength, her sense of justice, and her horsemanship skills! This lady is competency porn on crack cranked up to a billion! *INSERT FANGIRL NOISES HERE!*

But! No matter how great and grand Josie’s skill or motive might be, our boy has gotta snatch her ass. A year ago Thomas got shot, which in turn gave him PTSD, which in turn-turn got him fired as a spy. If he wants to keep being James Bond, he’s gotta bring Josie in.

So simply said, she gets arrested, and he gets his life back! “Your capture means my freedom.” THOSE ARE WORDS HIS MOUTH SAID THAT MADE MY FEELS FEEL.

And the themes! Lord baby Cupid on high, the themes, guys. Fear and identity are huge players here. Josie’s fear of parental abandonment as an adoptee means she’s not a Carlisle. Thomas’ fear of his PTSD as a wounded man means he’s not a spy.


Our OTP play meet & greet when Josie spots hero cutie across the ballroom. Her Hot Guy alert starts beeping, she plots an introduction, and WHAMO! Allllll the chemistry pops off! From there onwards Thomas turned my ass into melted chocolate, cause playboy drops smexy hot-talk like I drop diets.

Josie realizes pretty fast that she’s gotta play keep away, because a gal’s gotta protect her life of crime.

But that ain’t easy when Thomas is doing things with words, lips, and first names that were downright scrumptious. Seriously fangirls, their smexy initial moments like, ya know, that stable scene? That. Stable. SCENE!

Alas, though, Thomas stops, drops, and rolls the second he uncovers Josie’s secret. His Super Flirty McFlirt game plan quickly changes to “Omg stop, you’ll hurt yourself!” And that’s when the good shit really kicks into play! Why? Cause our gal ain’t about to be bossed around!

Thomas: You shouldn’t tempt fate.

Josie: Fate shouldn’t tempt me.

I AM CLAPPING SO LOUD, YALL JUST CAN’T HEAR ME! Her strength, her determination, her sense of justice, just…damn. The girl crush is real, my peeps. This woman straight up uses her boobs to save the day with quick thinking so quick, I’m like dude, how did her brain even work that fast???

My ass was smitten just as hard as Thomas’!

The two come together (hurhur) in the most raw, emotastic smexy sex, which climaxed (hurhurhur) with the most beautiful backstory storytelling I’ve ever read! Seriously, the brandy, butt, and big feels scene? This bitch was shook! But it all ends well enough because, of course, Josie!

Thomas: I’ve completely ruined you.

Josie: Thank you.

Thomas: That wasn’t a compliment.

Josie: Then you shouldn’t make ruination so much fun

Welp. I’m dead. Dead with happy! Our OTP next come together for a climax (hurx4) that did all of the things! Well…Almost all of the things.

So, here’s where I blast a truth bomb. I am, alas, a bit of a grumpy butt. See, Josie literally gets put in the corner during the book’s final action. This chick was balls-to-the-wall awesome, but in the big climatic climax not involving orgasms? She gets left out!!!!!! NOBODY TOUCH ME, I’M HOPPING MAD.

*goes away to pout for 2 hours* Ok I’m back, and less grumpy now. I mean, hell, for a book that is damn near perfect I can’t bitch too hard.

External conflict bores the Zzzs out of me 99% of the time. Yet when a story takes The Big Plot Thing and uses it to crank up the internal conflict, I get fangirly! Sure there’s a Big Bad in the background and espionage stuff and gunfights…But it all ties into Thomas’ heart wrenching PTSD and Josie’s heroic sense of justice!

So dammit, go put this book in yalls brain!

Right now. This instant. Read it for Josie! SHE PERSISTED AND I NEED TO MARRY HER ASS!

This book is available from:
How I Married a Marquess by Anna Harrington

April 26, 2016

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