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The Pursuit of Pleasure (Dartmouth Brides #1)

3.28  ·  Rating Details ·  519 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
Never Say "Never" To Passion. . .

Lizzie Paxton's dream in life is to be a widow--if only she could skip the wedding and the husband. When her childhood friend Captain James Marlowe proposes a marriage in name only, she accepts, knowing she'll have the independence she craves once he sets sail. Though James is the only man Lizzie trusts, she doesn't trust the scintillating
ebook, 352 pages
Published December 1st 2010 by Kensington (first published January 1st 2010)
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Tammy Walton Grant
Don't let the synopsis fool you --- this book is MUCH better. :)

I'd never heard of Elizabeth Essex before, but once I saw the cover I lusted after it. I downloaded a Kindle sample and liked it. Then I bought the book and loved it.

What sounded like a couple of tried and true romance tropes -- "marriage-of-convenience" mixed with "childhood friends to lovers" became so much more in the hands of this author. The period setting (1794 during the French Revolutionary War) was new to me. It also WASN'T
Yep, here I am, being Negative Nelly again. I wanted to like this one. I was excited to start reading it when it arrived. Then I was very annoyed by the first chapter, and while it improved slightly, it was still a disappointing read.

It was a childhood-friends-turned-lovers storyline, which I've discovered I really enjoy. I think it's fun to see a couple that has an actual history already to build on, rather than falling madly in love as soon as they set eyes on each other. The trouble with it i
I was pleasantly surprised with Elizabeth Essex's debut novel, I really did enjoy it and recommend it to others who like historical romance with a complete story.

Lizzie Paxton wants freedom. Freedom to do what she wants, by herself even though she is a privileged woman. She wants to be a widow. To have the freedom and security without having to deal with a man. Captain James Marlowe (Jamie), a life long friend of Lizzie's over hears this and cannot help but offer her the proposition she wants.
I really wanted to like this book. It had everything in it that would usually make a keeper but it just fell short.

Jamie (H) has returned from the Navy though he's still enlisted, and has a secret mission to acomplish.To do this he plans to use Lizzie (h), a childhood sweetheart who's father forced him at the age of 14 into the Navy to get him away from his daughter. He offers Lizzie a marraige of conv., telling her that he's going right back to war and will probably die and he wants his house s
Jul 06, 2011 Diana rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
When I was thirteen, I used to "borrow" my mom's romance novels and read them without her knowing. Elizabeth Essex's The Pursuit of Pleasure would've definitely been one of those novels. It would've spoken to me at the time because it is that poorly written.

The writing was amateurish, choppy, and awkward. Not awkward situations, but awkwardly situated. The premise is that Lizzie Paxton, daughter of Squire Paxton, is keen on gaining her independence. Her views are not conventional or socially acc
Lori McD
Eh... wish I could say more about this book, because it has real potential. It just got half-baked and over-steamed by an author and publisher determined to crank out smut without any regard to readers or stories. Hey, if we give them enough eye candy and lots of steam and angst, who needs a true plot?

Lizzie and James are childhood friends who get caught playing "doctor" as curious early-teens will do. Except that Lizzie's country squire father doesn't approve of James' no connections, no money
Jane Stewart
3 stars. I enjoyed the heroine doing unexpected things. Nearby smuggling creates danger.

It’s different and enjoyable with some freshness. This is not a formulaic romance. Lizzie is strong, independent and intelligent. She does not do what others (including the reader) expect her to do. I liked what she did. I enjoyed her anger and plans for revenge. I liked her conversations with others when they were lying to her and she knew it (and they knew she knew it). There was not muc
Jess the Romanceaholic
After being thrilled with Elizabeth Essex's forthcoming novel, Almost a Scandal, I decided to go back and read one of her earlier works.

Unfortunately, I wan't nearly as pleased with this one, despite the many similarities.

The writing style was still one I enjoyed, and I LOVED the basic premise. However, I spent far too much of the book wanting to smash Jamie's face with a hammer for being such a complete and utter chode, and wanting to pimpslap Lizzie for being so bloody weak when it came to he
Laura Kaye
Feb 06, 2011 Laura Kaye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
While the sex scenes are sizzling, Marlowe treats Lizzie quite callously, and his patronizing attitude toward her is infuriating, even if it's period-accurate. Their surprise at falling in love is implausible given their lifelong mutual obsession; both author and characters seem to have confused lust and love.

This is a very accurate quote from the product description on Amazon.

Given that this is a classic romance book (not an historical fact-checked novel), Marlowe attitude is pretty unforgivab
Mar 15, 2015 Anja rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: free-ebook, c, w-az
3.25 stars.

I liked the voice. I really liked Lizzie. She’s clever, independent, and managing. There’s very little romance development and Lizzie and Jamie are separated for a third of the story. This didn’t bother me as much as it usually would have because I liked Lizzie so much. She didn’t need a man to make her interesting which is a nice departure from a lot of the romance I read. The story felt fresh and not so formulaic, though things fell apart in the last quarter. Also, obvious bad guy i
Jun 16, 2016 Zaza rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sp-arc, histo, régence, 2014
Le résumé succinct de l'éditeur ne permet pas de mesurer la richesse offerte par ce 1er tome d'une série qui ne semble pas avoir trouvé ses lectrices outre-Atlantique. Pourtant, voilà un premier roman d'une grande richesse, où la petite histoire se mêle à la grande, où passion rime avec sensualité et où l'on voit une héroine féministe avant l'heure ...

Lizzie Paxton est une "vieille fille" de 22 ans qui repousse méthodiquement toutes les demandes en mariage, au grand désespoir de ses parents. Son
This seemed like a good book, got a decent review on one of my favorite romance book sites, had a slightly unusual setup (both plotwise and geographically [not outside of England, but at least outside of London])... but was terrible. I got halfway.

I disliked Jamie, who obviously had major ulterior motives (so OK, if you LOVE the girl so much, wait til after your Big Plan is over to marry her! It was like he wanted to have the cake and eat it too) and I was not fond of Lizzie either (meh, anothe
May Mostly Romance
Sep 26, 2012 May Mostly Romance rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
The Pursuit of Pleasure ของอลิซาเบธ เอสเสกซ

อาจจะนับกไดนะคะวา เรืองนีเปนเลมแรกในชุด แตถาจะไมนับกคงไมมีผลอะไร เพราะความชุดเกียวเนืองกันผานทางตัวละครทีเดินผานฉากของกันและกันเทานัน เทาทีทราบ เลมสองจะเปนเรืองของเพือนนางเอก ในขณะทีเลมสามเปนเพือนของพระเอก

หนังสือเลมนีเปิดเรืองไดนาอานมากทีสุดเรืองนึง บทสนทนาระหวางตัวเอกเปนสิงทีโดดเดนและจับใจเราไดตังแตเริมอาน และทำใหเราอานเรืองนีลืนไหลไปไดสนุกมาก และแมจะมีขอบกพรองหลายอยาง หรือหลายประเดนทีเราไมถูกใจ แตถานับวา นีคือ หนังสือเลมแรก แมกซกใหเกรดยิงกวาสอบผานอีก
When I saw that The Pursuit of Pleasure by Elizabeth Essex was free on Amazon for my Kindle, I downloaded it thinking that it would be a guilty pleasure type of romance. What I got was better than I expected.

The story is set in 17th century England and starts out with two people, Elizabeth (Lizzie) and Jamie entering into a marriage of convenience. He wanted to secure his property while he was away on a naval mission and she wants some independence to live the way she chooses. The story had my a
I picked up this book wanting to give Historical Romance a chance since I've read almost every possible genre of Romance available. Unfortunately this one book is turning me off from the genre completely.

I'll come clean, the cover and title drew me in and I fell into its dark trap. I mean The Pursuit of Pleasure sounds like something steamy right? Wrong, the only pursuit the two main characters are trying to achieve is deceiving each other and making the reader excruciatingly bored.

Main Proble
Misty Dietz
Oct 23, 2012 Misty Dietz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actually I give this book 4 1/2 stars.

Two critical factors I absolutely loved:

1. The Characters - sometimes you read a book and can't differentiate one character from the next. Not so in PoP. You may not always like Lizzie, but you're damn well going to remember her. She's head-strong, passionate, and vulnerable all at once. Ms. Essex constructed Lizzie so three-dimensionally that I was viscerally with her as she felt the highs and lows (and really low, lows) of the book. The fire between Lizz
Nov 29, 2011 KaysieLynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't read a true romance book in quite sometime, and this book satisfied me. I fell in love with Lizzie; she was smart, spunky, sexy and very independent. Jamie was her perfect match, able to keep up with Lizzie's wit while showing her she actually needed someone to depend on... So long as he was willing ti her be herself.

I really went the gambit of emotions with book. Laughing with Jamie & Lizzie's banter with one another. Crying when they said goodbye. Suspicion of the employees if Gl
Feb 01, 2011 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2 stars.

I won this book through Goodreads. I was very excited to receive this book as I love regency romance, but I found after reading it, I am torn on how to rate it. This is the story of Lizzie and Jamie. They were were childhood friends who later became lovers. Lizzie is very outspoken and independent minded. When Jamie offers her a marriage in name only, where she can have the independence that she's always wanted, she accepts. The smuggling storyline is intriguing, but because it takes
Jan 23, 2011 Helena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘In Pursuit of Pleasure’ by Elizabeth Essex is an aptly titled scorching tale of love, lust, betrayal and intrigue in the faltering British Empire’s struggle against Revolutionary France. Essex captures a sensual exploration by two people from childhood to marriage in this novel about Jameson and Lizzie.
British Captain Jameson (Jamie) Marlowe needs a wife and then to die. And his lifelong friend, Lizzie Paxton is happy to oblige. Contrarian and supremely confident, Lizzie Paxton has wanted noth
RomReader *Spoiler Giver*
22yo heroine accepts the proposal of her childhood best friend 24yo Hero who she hasn't seen in 10 years since he joined the Navy & who just overheard her talk about wanting to be a widow to attain independence. Hero is to leave for another commission and they only spend 1 night together as husband and wife. Their goodbye is harder than heroine expected and she pines for him while carrying on with making their house more to her liking. She soon gets a letter informing her that Hero died duri ...more
I downloaded this when Kensington offered it as a freebie, last year I think. But for a number of reasons, I didn’t read it until now.

This, unlike most historical romances I read, is set in Dartmouth. And I loved how the setting was used, and how it influenced the plot. I could almost hear the waves crashing against the steep cliffs, and the winds blowing over the moor.I could taste the dust in the air as Lizzie visited The Glass House. But most of all, I loved the Glass House. I loved how isola
When her childhood friend James Marlowe proposes a marriage in name only, Lizzie thinks it may be the answer to her quest for independence. What she doesn't count on is the passion James will make her feel... or the secrets he's keeping...

This book was a bummer, and what it boils down to is the unhealthy relationship between the unlikable main characters.

Lizzie was... hard. And selfish. And kind of a jerk. And a bit of an idiot.

Marlowe was less hard, at least at first, but also kind of a jerk i
Tahlia Newland
Apr 29, 2011 Tahlia Newland rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
The writing was supurb, the characters gutsy and adorable, the story interesting and full of surprises, so much so that I'm reading it again. Yes, I really loved this book and I will be looking for more from this author. I love the cover too. It says romance, but it's more subtle and creative than the durth of naked torsos that adorm a lot of romance covers.

I got this free from Amazon. I would never have bought it, even though the story sounded interesting, because I don't read straight romance,
Feb 27, 2011 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, I liked this book. That said, I have to admit that there was a point where I put down the book (not because anything happened exactly, but just because I had other things to do or something) and I had a really, really hard time picking it back up again.

See, there's this thing that happens. Oh, look. I guess that thing I said in the paragraph above about nothing exactly happening was a lie. It is a thing that happens that made me all mopey with the book. Anyway. There's a lot of buildup
Not what I was expecting...mixed feelings about the relationship between the H/h at the end, but that is besides the point. I understood very little of the characters motives, I mean the author skims over the h's motives a bit, but the H is a complete mystery. Nothing he does truly makes any sense. Every new event was unexpected, and a bit out of place. [spoiler]After faking his own death (without a compelling reason to do so) he blows his cover to go visit his widow in jail (although he doesn't ...more
Andrea Stein
Aug 25, 2015 Andrea Stein rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Essex shines with her professional marine background adding to the enjoyment. Both hero Captain Marlowe and heroine Lizzie have enough interesting quirks and flaws to make this romance a rare treat and a page turner. The descriptions of the ocean and shore are lush and ring true. Particularly love tales of smugglers and this part of the English coast. Will put this on the "keeper" shelf.
Dec 02, 2010 Joy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easily the best romance I read this week, maybe this month. When Miss Elizabeth Paxton claims to want to be a widow in order to live independently, her childhood friend Captain James Marlowe proposes to her since, he says, he is likely to die on duty in the Royal Navy. It's hard to do this review justice without giving away spoilers, but if you like angsty romance or romance where the hero and heroine are childhood friends, this is the book for you. The heroine is seriously kick-ass, and once sh ...more
Feb 17, 2016 Steph rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I started out thinking this was a decent book and ended up nearly hating it. Story concept was good and novel enough to be interesting. Jamie had such a strong start: empathetic and decent, if not entirely honest with himself or the h. Then he did a 180 and never redeemed himself (IMO). Wtf? That's not how this is supposed to work. But he electrified the poor girl with his magic fingers so she took him back even though he wouldn't promise not to pull the same jack-assery again. So dumb. Not reco ...more
CoffeeTimeRomance andMore
I did not quite know what to expect after reading the blurb regarding this novel. What was presented as a rather typical “old friends concoct a marriage of convenience that is not” plot turned out to be quite unique. The plot is complex and gripping, fun, suspenseful and emotionally charged by turns. Lizzie is a great character, brave and inventive; she is able to overcome pretty much all of the circumstances thrust upon her. Jamie is less likable for all of his ideals and noble mission. He lets ...more
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When not re-reading Jane Austen, sipping tea or mucking about her garden, Elizabeth Essex can be found at her computer, making up wonderful stories about people who live far more interesting lives than she.
Elizabeth Essex

It wasn’t always so. Elizabeth graduated from Hollins College with a BA in Classical Studies and Art History, and then earned her MA from Texas A&M University in Nautical Arch
More about Elizabeth Essex...

Other Books in the Series

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