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The Writing Girls #1

A Groom of One's Own

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Miss Harlow's Marriage In High Life
London, 1823

A handsome duke. His beautiful soon-to-be duchess. A whirlwind courtship. It is this author's privilege to report on the event all of London is talking about: the upcoming wedding of the Duke of Hamilton and Brandon to the only daughter of the Duke of Richmond. Every detail of the "Wedding of the Year" will be reported in these pages as a London Weekly exclusive.

But I, Miss Sophie Harlow, must confess to a secret infatuation with this "double duke" that can only lead to trouble. It is impossible that this notoriously upstanding gentleman would ever jilt his bride for a scandalous female newspaper writer. And yet . . . the arrival of a foreign prince, the discovery of a shocking secret, and one passionate kiss could change everything. Will this perfect duke risk the scandal of the year to marry the woman his heart desires?

There are just three more weeks until the wedding . . .

368 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published June 29, 2010

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About the author

Maya Rodale

45 books1,583 followers
Maya Rodale is the best-selling and award-winning author of funny, feminist fiction including historical romance, YA and historical fiction. A champion of the romance genre and its readers, she is also the author of Dangerous Books For Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels, Explained. Maya reviews romance for NPR and has appeared in Bustle, Glamour, Shondaland, Buzzfeed, The Huffington Post and PBS. She began reading romance novels in college at her mother’s insistence and has never been allowed to forget it.

Sign up for her newsletter at www.mayarodale.com/newsletter

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5 stars
514 (24%)
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582 (27%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 199 reviews
Profile Image for Gemma.
871 reviews38 followers
February 1, 2011
Good writing, but I had a hard time liking the heroine in this one. From almost the first attraction she has for the hero (who is engaged to another women), she openly flirts with him (in front of his fiance, no less), and constantly thinks about how she wishes he'd jilt his fiance for her. She doesn't even seem to feel a twinge of guilt that such an action would humiliate the fiance, who was a nice person. Considering that a year before, the heroine had herself been jilted, you'd think she'd be reluctant for another innocent woman to have to experience that same humiliation. But she doesn't really seem to care. It's all about what she wants.

If the author had shown some more pangs of conscience on the part of the heroine, I would have liked this book better. Instead, her only sad thoughts were about how the hero would never elope with her because he's a duke and she's so far beneath him socially. Or how hurt she was when she herself was jilted, never considering that she wants the hero to do the exact same thing to someone else who doesn't deserve to be treated badly.

I gave this two stars because the writing itself was good. The dialogue was engaging, the words flowed, and the story grabbed my attention, so I might give this author another try.
Profile Image for ♥ℳelody.
631 reviews658 followers
February 1, 2022
Reader experience:
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Hmmm. What to say. I liked this...at times. This is my 3rd Rodale book, and while her stories/ideas are there her writing is very very rough. The POVs and characters are not fully developed, the world building is an afterthought and so flat. The POV shifts are hard to follow where sometimes you aren’t even sure whose POV you are reading about. And the internal dialogue is confusing at times because you aren't sure if the characters are speaking in hypothetical or describing something that is actually happening in real time. And that annoyed me to no end. #petpeeve The number of times this happened while reading was countless. Everything just blurs and blends together. There seems to be a whole lot of telling rather than showing. The long winded repetitive inner monologues just dragged everything down especially in the second half with all the repetitive info dumping. How many times do I need to be reminded that the marriage contract has been signed? Or what good honorable gentlemen do? I mean... enough.

Similar to her other books, there were weird grammar choices and typos and use of modern language. I felt there wasn’t much thought put into the world building and correct language for a Regency era. There was a very good attempt at it, but it came off very very forced and thin. I think a big part of that had to do with the limited range of expressions and words used. I'm by no means an expert on this but for instance if you want to make the dialogue sound formal and somewhat historically accurate, there are plenty of other words besides ‘upon’ to describe action. The number of times the word upon is used in here is excessive and tiring and most of the time very clunky. This kinda drove me crazy because it kept popping up everywhere and used so awkwardly. Also the dramatic dialogue almost straddles to juvenile and cheesy in some areas. But the most distracting and annoying thing are the endless repetitive lists and giving titles to the most absurd & silly things. Ex: The One, A Good Man, A Serious Discussion, A Civilized Gentleman, A Noble Sacrifice, Writing Girl Sophie ...etc. so on and so on. What was the point of this? Add a dramatic flare? Not necessary. By far probably the weirdest writing quirk I’ve seen so far. It just didn’t add anything or make sense in the context it’s used.

I guess if it wasn't for the writing I would have enjoyed it more. No that's a lie. The bullheaded stubborn stiff-lipped hero Brandon got on my nerves too. This guy really needed to unclench and stop talking in circles. I found some of the reasons why nobody wanted to put an end to the 'Wedding of the Year' too much and could easily have been resolved. Brandon played dramatic martyr too much for my liking, at one point even saying his decision would effect his decision making in parliament and England will fall apart if he makes one selfish decision in following his heart.
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Good grief. I liked him enough in the beginning and he has great chemistry with the heroine but he really tested my patience with how long it took him to actually accept and admit he is marrying the wrong girl and in love with Sophie. I needed him or at least his shy, dutiful fiance Clarissa to SPEAK UP and say something. I actually liked the triangle here and the difficult situation all parties involved deal with. Sure Sophie is falling for an unavailable guy but she took into consideration Clarissa's feelings or I should say non feelings so it didn't bother me. I saw some readers were conflicted over her actions/feelings given her own history with being cheated on and jilted, but in this case the hero's fiance has no feelings for the hero and falls in love with someone else herself and Clarissa is very aware of what's going on and doesn't seem to care and befriends Sophie in the process so I can't really be angry with Sophie. *shrug* But the endless sighing and 'oh isn't he the BEST' mooning did get to be too much but the MCs had chemistry, I just wish the intimate moments were shown more rather than told.
Profile Image for Angela Reads Romance.
491 reviews218 followers
August 1, 2022
This may not be the worst book I’ve read all year, but it’s definitely bottom three 🙄 I’m questioning my whole life and TBR process as to how this crap ended up in my hands?!

It made no flippin’ sense. SUPER insta of most instaloves with a duke and a bluestocking. No foundation. Just immediate pining and “omg this person is so perfect and wonderful and they’re the one,” after one freaking bland interaction. Then we have the duke ENGAGED TO SOMEONE ELSE who has absolutely no reason to NOT call it off and be with his instalove woman than, “Well, I asked her first and it’ll be super awkward if I break it off 😬.”

We basically spend the entire book with the duke and Sophie in love and the duke’s fiancé and a prince in love and absolutely for freaking good reason for them to not just be with who their supposed to. 🙄

It’s also a pet peeve of mine for there to be dream intimacy scenes in lieu of real ones. Why. Just why.

Well. This was a disappointment. I thought me and this author were going to ride off into the back catalogue sunset but instead I may have to ban her for life.
Profile Image for Lisa (Remarkablylisa).
2,289 reviews1,828 followers
January 18, 2021
It started off so strong but it died halfway when I realized the main problem was them moping and complaining that they couldn't be together and then thinking maybe it'll be okay in the end if they weren't together and then finding ways to be together. It also just felt so dumb cause these two couples were caught up in this drama.
92 reviews1 follower
March 8, 2012
This book started off well, but started to take a nosedive around the middle.

Ms. Sophie Harlow was jilted on her wedding day. Instead of taking things sitting down, she goes to London and become a well known columnist for a popular newspaper (how this happened was never quite explained. How Sophie met the other Writing Girls weren't really touched either). Sophie hates weddings, but now writes about the biggest society weddings for her column.

Henry, the Duke of Brandon and Hamilton, is a double duke engaged to Clarissa, Lady Richmond. He's honorable (not really, but more on that later), responsible, not impulsive, and always does what he's supposed to. He lost his father at a young age and has sworn off love forever. He wants to marry Clarissa because he could never love her (he also has a list of qualities he wants, which he brings up multiple times). When he and Sophie meets quite by accident, he becomes besotted with her but did not want to break things off with Clarissa because the marriage contract was ironclad, Sophie was a danger to his heart, and he feels some sort of Duty to Clarissa.

Clarissa, Lady Richmond, is the all too obedient fiance. She always does what her parents want and doesn't have the guts to do what she wants. While engaged to Brandon, she meets Lord Von Vennigan, the Prince of Bavaria, with whom she falls in love and in the process, grows a spine.

Lord Von Vennigan loves Clarissa, but since the Duke won't release her (i.e. jilt her) he could only try to convince her to act.

Maya Rodale's writing was charming, but I gave this book a terrible rating because there were several major issues.

Issues with this book:

1. Sophie was jilted and suffered greatly because of it. Yet she barely even slows down pursuing Brandon once she realized he is engaged. Her excuse is that she love him, he does not love Clarissa, and that Brandon and her "love" is too great to pass up. The entire time Sophie is a home-wrecker (sure, perhaps with a valid reason). However, the ramifications of being in such a position is not addressed. It's like as long as she's doing it because of love, everything's ok. She also has no sense of self-preservation or worth. Sure, lay down everything for love. But don't give everything to someone who doesn't appreciate it (which Brandon really doesn't - he pretty much says he doesn't want her love). Really, that's romantic?

2. Brandon is a coward. He thinks he's honorable, but really, he couldn't make up his mind about anything. On one hand he wants the obedient girl who would never be a danger to his heart. On the other hand, he doesn't want to not have Sophie. If he had decided upon meeting Sophie that he wanted to be with her (but had trouble getting out of the betrothal with Clarissa), that would have made him sympathetic. But nope, for 90% of the book, he is engaged to Clarissa, fully expecting to marry her, lusting after Sophie, playing tonsil hockey with Sophie, fighting with the man who loves Clarissa, all while saying love is for idiots. He was also like a kid with a toy. He wouldn't let Von Vennigan have Clarissa out of some twisted sense of possession and paternalism (she needs him and he has to protect her), but he gets jealous if Sophie so much as laugh with another man. Sure, men who are a little too good/honorable/stuffy can be sexy (i.e. Mr. Darcy), but nothing Brandon does in the book is honorable. As well, he becomes besotted with Sophie in a way that really seems like he's having cold feet, not as if he really loves her...

3. The Brandon/Sophie dynamic was bizarre. He has all the power in their relationship and the entire book was about him resolving his issues. Sophie spends the entire book pining, hoping he'll wake up and realize he's in love with her. Brandon doesn't want to love her, but keeps stringing her along. Neither of them were sympathetic characters.

4. The Brandon/Clarissa dynamic was even stranger. Both were in love with different people. Clarissa's motivations were very clear. She wouldn't cry off because a) she's grown up being super obedient b) her family has a whole bunch of debts Brandon's agreed to pay off c) her mother is scary as heck and d) she'd be ruined after. I still don't understand Brandon's motivations (something about being honorable and doing right by his fiance - although she wanted to marry someone else - and how that would affect her little sister's coming out). Gah.

5. The wedding at the end was a farce. Basically two (or three?) groups of people were planning on how to get Sophie/Brandon and Clarissa/Von Vennigan together. But of course, they don't talk to each other and everybody thinks they know what's best for someone else. Brandon blindly listens to Sophie, Sophie thinks she can hijack the wedding, Brandon's mother, who appeared like 4 times throughout the novel (very short appearances) suddenly was on Sophie's side...

The relationships, romantic or otherwise, in this novel are complete messes. Few people are sympathetic (especially not the main hero/heroine) and I keep thinking "why would they do that? How could they do that? What are they thinking?" I am not convinced Brandon and Sophie loved each other, but I'm glad they ended up together because it allowed Clarissa and Von Vennigan to be together.

The only silver lining is Clarissa. It starts off with her being a total doormat, but she grows and comes into her own. She isn't perfect, but she seemed the only main character who actually has good reason for her actions. Her dilemmas aren't trivial (unlike Brandon). In fact, I pretty much finished the book because I wanted to see her happy ending (at this point, I couldn't give a d*mn for Sophie and Brandon).

Read this if you want a silly heroine and an indecisive hero (or if you want to see a supporting character completely hijacking the story and outshining the hero and heroine).
Profile Image for Veromika.
226 reviews23 followers
July 30, 2022
1 utter-crap Stars!

I rarely give a book one star. The number of books I have given one stars can be counted on one hand. But this book deserves not even this one. I was a decent enough fan of Ms. Rodale until I picked up this horrid book. God! My eyes... My 3 hours of time... My delicate sensibilities have all been tainted by this one horribly crafted novel.

Caution : Lot of bitching will entail. People who have an aversion for negative reviews... Don't read further.

I don't even know where to begin from all the crappiness this book contained. There is a stupid, weak heroine, and coward fickle hero, one very overbearing Duchess, a shy wallflower, and a prince. This concoction is a definite recipe for disaster.

The author tries to portray the heroine as strong willed and independent, but she is nothing but a stupid little ninny!
The whole book her inner monologue goes like...
He loves me.
He loves me not.
Oh, I feel soo guilty...
Ah, but anyway it's true love...
I mean are you writing this book for senile romantics who have iq in single digits? We have a brain which we use... We don't like 300 pages of same repetitive conversation of "does he.. does he not?" Or "will he.. will he not?"

And then there is our hero. I frankly think the two dukedoms are utter waste on this guy. There are more manly, strong and not coward fictional Barons and Viscounts who can make him look like a monkey with a title. If I hear the word Honour and Duty one more time I'll go psychotic. I've never (not exaggerating) hated a hero before.. heroine maybe.. but not a hero.. but this guy a just a wuss, a sap, a dandy... He basically sucks.

If not for my rule to never leave a book unfinished I would have closed this one in the first 40 pages. And that's being generous.

It's actually an utter shame for an author with such a talented writing to choose such a boring stupid and worthless story.

It will take a lot of determined persuasion to pick up a Ms Rodale book again. You know what they say once bitten forever shy. And this one was a pain in my arse!

Usually, I advise people to form their own opinions.... But I'll make an exception this time and say.. If you are not interested in a silly heroine and a coward hero and a perfectly stupid story... then don't waste your time on this one...
Profile Image for Denise.
354 reviews73 followers
August 9, 2011
Sophie Harlow, to her extreme mortification, embarrassment and hurt was jilted at the alter. This left her with little options so she sold her wedding dress and took off to join her friend Julianna in London. Here she gained employment with a newspaper which she writes a column about weddings taking place within London society. While at a wedding where one of the wedding party was left at the altar, Sophie panics and blindly roams the streets. She is nearly run down by a carriage but was saved the last minute by a man. He walks her home and they instantly connect. She thinks he is a Mr Brandon, but he is actually a duke, a double duke at that.
She is asked to interview and follow the couple and family of this double Duke in what will be the wedding of the year.. the Dukes wedding. In the following month, we watch Sophie and Brandon fall in love while trying to deny their feelings and avoid at all costs scandal.
This was a very sweet entertaining read and I loved how honorable the Duke was and how hard he tried to do what was right.
Profile Image for Rachel (BAVR).
150 reviews1,041 followers
November 30, 2011
Trying out a new romance author is very similar to trying a new hair style. Sometimes the cut works and sometimes it makes the world seem like it will come to an end. Fortunately for me, Maya Rodale ended up being a good decision.

A Groom of One's Own tells the story of once-jilted at the altar Miss Sophie Harlow. Humiliated, Sophie flees to London, where she somehow gets a respectable job writing a column about weddings for a newspaper. But Sophie hates weddings. Hers was such a disaster, and every time she attends one for her job, she ends up having a panic attack. If Sophie were alive today, there would be drugs for that. Unfortunately, this is a story and a Regency one at that, so Sophie has to suck up her distress and keep cranking out wedding articles. Poor dear. The hero of the story is the Duke of Hamilton and Brandon, who gave me constant flashbacks of 90210 episodes by insisting on being called Brandon. He's a respectable guy with a respectable family and a respectable fiancee who has an equally respectable aversion to romance. Hmmm ... I wonder what will happen when the lively Miss Harlow ends up covering the duke's wedding?

Rodale trods on dangerous territory with this book. I personally can't enjoy a book about unfaithful people. It makes it so difficult to cheer for their happiness. Fortunately, the characters are all very open about their feelings. It's a bit creepy how open they are, actually. Brandon's fiancee is very aware of his feelings for Sophie. He, in turn, is very open about his feelings for Sophie with Sophie. At times, I felt like these kids were stuck in some sort of Masochism Tango: Cravats and Pelisse Edition. Brandon is too honorable to ditch his prospective bride before the wedding day, but his relationship with Sophie is at times heart-wrenching in its sweetness. He's such a good guy that even when I wanted to smack his figurative head through the book for being a nimwit, I couldn't. Kudos to Rodale for creating an indecisive character who I didn't hate.

Sophie is a very fun character to read. She has a good sense of humor and tries to do the right thing. Granted, I felt like she was maybe a little too eager to hook up with a man she couldn't have. In that time, Sophie wouldn't have been accepted in the vaunted circles she frequented, and she likely wouldn't have had a chance to break up the wedding of the year. Fortunately, this was a romance novel, so happy ending trumps realism. (Thank God!)

Brandon, even though he suffers from Chronic Can't Love 'Cause It Makes Me FEEL Syndrome, is a refreshing take on a Regency hero. He isn't a rake (so overdone these days) and doesn't want to play fast-and-loose with the feelings of the women in his life. It takes a long time for him to even kiss Sophie, creating a generous heaping of sexual tension.

Sophie writes for a newspaper. In eighteen-hundred-and-something-early. Female writes did exist back then (thank you, Jane Austen), but I really don't think that they enjoyed the measure of freedom that Sophie did. Single young women from good families (even seemingly invisible families stowed away in the country) simply didn't walk about London alone or work in an office with countless males. I'm not much of a stickler for historical accuracy in fiction, but it did bother me that Sophie's family kind of disappeared when she moved to London. Wouldn't they have been concerned about her? Why did she have to work to live? Was Sophie just too annoying for them to care?

Brandon's Chronic Can't Love 'Cause It Makes Me FEEL Syndrome gets annoying at times. which is a really lame excuse. Other romance heroes have come up with much more creative reasons for their stunted emotional behavior. Try harder, Brandon.

Not too graphic. Rodale focuses more on the emotional connections between the characters than the physical. Don't get me wrong. There was definitely some sexin'. It just packed more of an emotional punch than an erotic one.
Profile Image for Lover of Romance.
2,988 reviews868 followers
May 4, 2013
Sophie was once engaged, but her fiancee broke their engagement as she was walking down the aisle. So she ended up in London, as one of the four writing girls, who all write for London's Weekly, the city's most popular newspaper. Sophie's main focus is to work on weddings and report on them. She is then to report on the wedding of the year of the Duke of Brandon and the daughter of the Duke of Richmond. Normally Sophie would be thrilled with the opportunity, however she is half way in love with the Duke who is to be married in three weeks. Sophie doesn't know how she is suppose to separate her feelings from her job. Sophie is around Brandon more and more, and before she realizes it, she finds it hard not to give into the feelings about Brandon that tend to flare up the more she sees him. Brandon, has responsibilities, ever since his father died when he was eighteen, and even though his parents loved each other, he has known he could never have love for himself. He is engaged to the jewel of the ton, more beautiful than ever, and has all the qualities in a upstanding duchess. When he meets Sophie, his world gets turned upside down. He finds himself falling in love with a woman he can never have, his hands are tied, and as the wedding date draws closer, more than anything he wishes he didn't have his honor to uphold.This is the first chance I have had to read from this author, and I am so relieved that I liked this one. I did borrow from my public library all four of this series, so I crossed my fingers as I started to read. When reading the blurb I wasn't sure if I would enjoy the story line much, but after reading a couple of chapters, I was totally engrossed into the story, and I found it hard to put down much. There was such a strong feeling to this story, it was very provoking emotionally. It had me tied up in knots for most of the book. Its one of those forbidden love type stories, and up until the very last chapter I was curious how these two would end up together. Brandon is the honorable man type. He is not your usual rake type at all. He is very responsible and takes his duties seriously however he wants adventure in his life, knowing he will never have it. I found Brandon to be sexy and gorgeous and I love a honorable hero, but sometimes I felt like he was way too stubborn for his own good. He tended to be a bit over the top with it all. Sophie is the bluestocking type: independent, clever, but she also has vulnerabilities that made her seem more human and easier to relate with. I found the interactions between Brandon and Sophie to be wickedly fun and silly at times. There was also a side story of Brandon's fiancee with a prince that is new to town---lets just say I loved both couples immensely. There was something so sweet yet passionate about the two. Their love stories fiercely intense at times, and I almost felt like I needed a stress ball to squeeze, the story was so pulling at times. There were moments that had me laughing one moment, and curling my toes the next. I found the story to be well detailed and developed in a way that will win any one's romantic heart over. An ENTHRALLING and uniquely written read that will win you over in a heartbeat! You don't want to miss out on this treasure of a story! WELL DONE!!
Profile Image for Caz.
2,760 reviews1,034 followers
May 14, 2014
I've given this a B for narration and a C- for content at AudioGals, so I'm leaving it at 3 stars here.

A Groom of One’s Own
is the first book in Ms Rodale’s Writing Girls series in which each of the four heroines are just that – young women who write for a living, in this case, for London’s favourite newssheet, the London Weekly.

Miss Sophie Harlow was devastated when her fiancé jilted her very publicly on their wedding day. To avoid the scorn and pity of the locals, Sophie took herself off to London to reside with her widowed friend, Lady Juliana Somerset, and secured herself a position at the Weekly. For a woman to embark on any profession at the time the book is set was a scandalous thing indeed, but the paper’s editor is not averse to scandal – particularly when it boosts circulation!

Sophie enjoys her new life, for the most part. Apart from the bit where she has to spend most of her time watching other people getting happily married and reporting on the weddings for her weekly column, “Miss Sophie Harlow’s Marriage in High Life”.

Sophie has had little interest in romantic entanglements since her ill-fated not-wedding day, until she is meets a man one afternoon and finds all of her senses clamouring, “This One”. The very handsome and charming Mr Brandon escorts her home and they part, Sophie full of hope that she will meet him again and they will live happily ever after.

Still occupied by thoughts of the man of her dreams, Sophie is assigned the task of covering what is sure to be “The Wedding of the Year” between the very upstanding, proper Duke of Hamilton and Brandon and Lady Clarissa Richmond, only daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Richmond.

Imagine Sophie’s shock at discovering the true identity of her Mr Brandon. And at discovering that he’s engaged to be married in less than a month.

(And imagine mine! :P)

The story that follows has considerable charm and humour, but I can’t help feeling that there really wasn’t enough material here to sustain a full-length novel. There are 46 Chapters (plus an epilogue), and by around chapter 30, I was wishing that things would just get a move on and wrap up already. Sophie wants Brandon. Brandon wants Sophie. He has a fiancée and, being the kind of dutiful, honourable, responsible man he is, insists that he has to go through with the marriage. He’s also got a bit of a bee in his bonnet about having a calm, sensible wife who won’t upset his equilibrium, or distract him from his important work running the country and his many estates; whereas Sophie is, as he frequently says, “trouble”. The problem, however, is that trouble is hard to resist when it comes in as attractive a package as Miss Harlow.

You can read the rest of this review at AudioGals
Profile Image for Sarah.
248 reviews25 followers
September 22, 2010
I'm having a hard time finding something I didn't like about this book, and for me, that is the best review I can give an author. You would think that a few hundred pages of angst and longing would get tiresome, but Ms. Rodale makes you as eager and torn as the four, yes four!, characters in this book. I believe the two things I loved the most was: 1) how, without actual physical contact, she managed to make the encounters between the duke and Sophie so incredibly erotic; & 2) how the thoughts and actions of the characters were exactly in line with their personalities. The duke's longing for Sophie is believable as is his decision to not act upon that longing. It's not a wishy-washy "I will, I won't that I've been seeing so much of lately. It seems as real as any major decision I've faced in my own life. And isn't that the true test of a book? Can you see these events happening in real life? Yes. Yes, I can. I can only hope that Charlotte and Lord Roxbury are featured in books of their own.
Profile Image for Wench.
620 reviews43 followers
February 16, 2013
Insipid heroine. Plenty of telling, not showing. Insta-lust, which I don't actually find a sin, as it's happened to me, but we aren't SHOWN it we're TOLD IT. REPEATEDLY. AND IF I READ ONE MORE TIME ABOUT HOW THE HEROINE WAS JILTED AND HER WEDDING WAS AWFUL BUT NOW IT IS HER JOB TO WRITE ABOUT WEDDINGS BOO HOO I WILL SET THIS BOOK ON FIRE.
Profile Image for Lisa.
328 reviews77 followers
June 21, 2011
Miss Sophie Harlow got the shock of her life when she was jilted at the alter and it forces her to leave her home and head to London to find a job...which she does as a newspaper writer and is part of a quartet of women known as The Writer Girls. She writes a column about all the society weddings but she is always nervous as she waits for the bride, as she can not bear to see anyone else get jilted and when at one such wedding it is looking like a jilt is in process she flees from the ceremony and bumps into a most handsome man who escorts who home and whom she believes is just Mr. Brandon. Imagine her surprise when she is asked to cover the Wedding of the Year and she meets the groom...her Mr. Brandon who is actually a double duke, the Duke of Hamilton and Brandon and he is set to marry the perfect Lady Clarissa.

As Sophie and the ladies confer over numerous wedding arrangements, Brandon keeps making appearances and the heated glances between them are noticed by all. By his mother with some delight (who believes true love conquers all), by Clarissas mother with horror (as the family desperately needs the infusion of cash that the marriage will secure) and some form of disinterest from Clarissa (as she is not truly in love with the duke). I wasn't quite sure how this story was going to play out, after all, I did not want Clarissa to end up jilted and alone but Clarissa gets her own prince charming and stands her ground with her over bearing mother.

This was my first Maya Rodale book and it was enjoyable. Her writing was fun and kept the story moving along nicely. There is no big misunderstanding and the focus on the two couples was done well...I just wanted to keep going and going to see how it was all going to end for our couples! I enjoyed how you could just feel the passion between Sophie and Brandon, and except for a few stolen kisses, not much happened until the end. It is truly a story of love growing from mutual attraction and laughter and companionship. Overall, a fun sweet read with a mad cap ending and I am looking forward to the other three writer girls stories! 3 1/2 stars
Profile Image for Amanda.
604 reviews93 followers
July 3, 2017
I liked the concept of this story, but I thought it was confused and poorly written. There were too many characters' perspectives and the story wasn't focused on a single romance. In fact, I couldn't see why I should believe in the romance at all for either couple. There was precious little romance here. Besides that, the dialogue and characters' behavior were inappropriate for the setting, and there were a few times that the author seemed to forget whether she was writing in first person or third in the same sentence (starting with "I" and switching to "her", for example). Overall I found this book to be disappointing.
Profile Image for Victoria Vane.
Author 58 books540 followers
August 26, 2012
Great Regency romance with a very spunky and persistent heroine, who has taken some hard knocks, but refuses to become embittered. The somewhat self-centered (but really aren't they all?) male protagonist comes to annoy me at times, when he plays with her feelings, but all is made right in the end.

Well-written with excellent pacing that keeps one turning the pages. 3.5 rounded up to 4.
Profile Image for Goblin.
56 reviews19 followers
July 2, 2012
No long review, just, what a fun and cute ride! :D
Profile Image for Sonia189.
952 reviews26 followers
November 25, 2019
This is more a 3.5 for me. (half stars would really be handy...)

I liked some parts, others not so much. I think all about the emotional responses the characters had over the plot situations were well done and interesting to follow, after all, people with conscience just don't do reckless things and I liked the complexity this offered.
However, the main couple's romance wasn't romantic to me nor was it convincing they were such great people together...
Profile Image for iamGamz.
1,511 reviews42 followers
June 9, 2015
A Groom of One’s Own

Finished 6/8
Started 6/6
4 Honorable Stars

It’s been a while since I read a historical romance and now I’m wondering why it took me so long. This has always been on of my favorite genres. My love of romance novels started when I secretly read my mom’s copy of The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen E. Woodwiss, at the tender age of 12. It was eye-opening!! I fell in love with Captain Brandon Birmingham and never looked back.

So it was a real thrill for me to find Maya Rodale’s The Writing Girls series. This is my first time reading her work, and I was ecstatic to find a well-written, smart book, with a strong, sassy female lead. I adored Sophie and understood her fight for the guy she loves.

After being jilted at the altar a year earlier, Sophie is saved from certain death by the man of her dreams, a very handsome Mr. Brandon. She realizes he is “The One” by the end of their first meeting, and is eager to get to know him better. Unfortunately, fate is a cruel b!#ch and Sophie learns that her Mr. Brandon is not who she though he was.

As a wedding columnist for The London Weekly, Sophie is often invited to report on the weddings of the Ton. She receives a letter from the Duchess of Richmond inviting her to write a series of columns on her daughter’s wedding to the Duke of Hamilton and Brandon. This is rumored to be The Wedding of the Year among the peerage. Thrilled, Sophie heads off to the first meeting with the Duchess and her daughter to get info on the wedding.

Everything is going well until the bridegroom enters the room, and Sophie learns that he is none other than her Mr. Brandon, the man who saved her a few days earlier. Her guy. Shocked and hurt, Sophie tries to hide her disappointment, but she cannot fight her attraction for him.

Her desire for Brandon, and his for her are blatantly obvious not just to the reader, but also to the other characters in the book. It’s hard to hide when they have such a strong rapport, and when she brings out a lighter, happier side of him. She makes the usually stoic Double Duke laugh. She brings light and mischief into his life, and makes him hunger for more that he has accepted in his consent to marry his fiancée.

Needless to say, this does not please some around them. His fiancée’s overbearing mother, the Duchess of Richmond, tries to discredit Sophie, to the point of trying to get her fired. She has her own reasons for insisting her daughter marry a man that she does not love, and obviously does not love her. Although Sophie and Brandon do try to avoid each other and fight against their feelings, fate always seem to put them in each other’s path.

In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Lysander said “The course of true love never did run smooth, and that is probably the perfect quote to sum up this book. True love took a wretched course for Sophie and Brandon, and also for Clarissa, the woman Brandon was supposed to marry and Frederick, Prince of Bavaria, the man Clarissa fell in love with while engaged to marry Brandon. Fate had a great, hearty laugh at these poor souls expense.

Now, many of the reviews I read on this book were harshly critical of the author for allowing Sophie to continue to have feelings for Brandon, even after she knew he was engaged. While I understand their point of view, they must also understand that one cannot always choose to love, or not to love. When it happens, it just does. Also, knowing the situation that Clarissa and Brandon were not marrying for love but for convenience, why shouldn’t Sophie fight for the man she loves? Why should she sacrifice her happiness, when she knows that everyone else involved will also be unhappy if the situation continued on it’s present course?

I found this a fun and exciting read. Sophie’s character; her gumption, sense of humor and bravery made this book. I loved her relationship with her fellow Writing Girls and am eager to see what mischief the others will get into as the series continues. If you enjoy strong female leads and have a penchant for well written historical romances, this is one you cannot miss. I am glad I grabbed it off the shelf in my local library. It certainly re-kindled my love of historical romance.
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,997 reviews1,639 followers
October 16, 2012
This is a very light Regency romance with a touch of heat, and an enjoyable one in the end. The book opens with our heroine, Sophie Harlow being jilted at the altar, more or less, and we’re told that this represents the end of her hopes for marriage. Sophie moves to London and we pick up with her nearly a year later as she has built a life for herself (more or less).

Some of the details of Regency London don’t quite square with my understanding of the period. Rodale’s assertions about the consequences of being jilted just doesn’t fit with what I’ve read from others (mostly Georgette Heyer). And the author admits that women writing openly for newspapers didn’t happen until decades later. And Sophie has a good deal more license than I think is realistic for single women at the time (without opening oneself to societal censure).

Still, while she has modernized many of the trappings of Regency England, there’s enough authenticity that it didn’t completely throw me out of the novel and, most importantly, the characters behaved consistently with both the rules Rodale kept and the ones she updated or ignored. In other words, her tinkering with the setting played out consistently in the actions of the characters so you don’t get ambushed by unexpected actions or reactions.

And I liked the story. I liked the main guy, the Duke of Hamilton and Brandon, even if some of his past was a little over-done. And Sophie was a great match for him and you just want them to be able to get together by the end.

I still have a little trouble with how lightly sex is treated in these racier Regency romances. This book actually does much better than most in this regard as neither Brandon nor Sophie treat it lightly and nothing really “happens” until the very end, anyway.

By now you can probably tell I have reservations about a wholehearted endorsement of the book. That’s mostly my head telling me I shouldn’t have liked it as well as I did. If, like me, you don’t always listen to your head when choosing reading material, I suspect you’ll like the book as much as I did.

A note about Steamy: Most of the “sex” in this book is imaginary and stops short of being explicit. Most. There is a rather racy, full-on sex scene that goes for a page or two.
30 reviews2 followers
November 28, 2012
Okay, here goes...

I did like Sophie and Brandon and I did like their chemistry. They were cute together and it made much more sense for Brandon to like Sophie over Clarissa, his fiance. The problem was, was that I could not get over the "sort of" cheating they were doing and the fact that this sort of cheating was leading up to a situation that could have potentially been the EXACT. SAME. SCENARIO. that left Sophie jilted at the altar in the beginning, but with her being the other woman this time. And it's not like she wasn't affected by the jilting, or that she got over it quickly - she has sheer-on panic attacks where she goes to a wedding and just freezes up and starts doing the rolling back and forth on her heels in her mind. holy crap.




So why would she potentially put herself in a situation that could cause the same sort of trauma to another person - which didn't happen, but that brings me to my next point. The whole thing about a random rich Bavarian prince, who coincidentally just happens to outrank Brandon (duke of two regions), and who is handsome, and is rich enough to cover all of Clarissa's family's debts, who just shows up at the correct time, falls in love with Clarissa so that they can have a double elopement (sorry, not sorry but totally saw this coming - no real suspense here at all) with the "in-love" couples is RIDICULOUS.

Like, I know this is a regency romance and I need to give it some leeway for being ridiculous and feel-good, etc. etc. but this novel lacked logic. Blah.

The reason why this is still three stars though, is because I did like the writing, the characters were written well, and the character interaction was great between the hero/heroine.

So yes, I think I am going to try some more of this series, but I'm probably going to read the reviews first a bit more carefully next time.
Profile Image for Kasumi Ren.
89 reviews1 follower
October 20, 2011
I loved it!

I finished reading this in one sitting and I was laughing or smiling all through out the pages! The characters had this wonderful interactions with each other that each sentence they utter is enjoyable. This is my first novel for Maya Rodale and I think I'll look for her other works too.

Brandon saves Sophie from a carriage accident and immediately gets attracted. Sophie is one of the Writing Girls and she writes articles on weddings. Ironically, she hates attending weddings ever since she got jilted on the alter by her fiance.(courted for 6 months, engaged by a year) After her rescue, she also has an attraction to her hero. What a surprise for her when she realizes that her biggest scoop, the wedding of the year, involves Double Duke Brandon and Perfect english lady Clarrisa. Being the reporter of a wedding has never been harder when she slowly falls in love with the Duke and he the same for her! And a Prince comes visiting and adds to the twist by sending his affections to Brandon's betrothed!

Brandon--what can I say? He was perfect! The antithesis of a rogue (which I daresay we've read too much about in other novels) He's honorable, workaholic, no vices, and responsible. And I loved his inner conflict.

Sophie was courageous and will fight for her love. She spoke whatever she wanted so there weren't alot of misunderstandings. Her side comments regarding her articles were witty and fun (very scandalous!)

Scandals equals Sales!

My favorite part in this story and had me giggling all the way was when Brandon realizes his feelings and immediately sets up a plan to escape his wedding with his rival Prince Von Vennigan. Wherein they didn't know that the two girls they fell in love with had a different plan of their own!

“I need you to be my best man,” Brandon said.
Von Vennigan slammed the door in his face.

Hilarious. It was worries that he never got to prepare for this wedding (the license, the need for a best man, the wedding toast) So, I really liked his idea to ask the man who hates him the most for his best man.

Simply a great read.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Bronwyn Rykiert.
1,151 reviews37 followers
December 11, 2010
This story was fun. I would highly recommend it.

Sophie Harlow was jilted at the alter by her finance Matthew (he had met someone esle 2 weeks earlier), so she fled to London with her best friend Julianna. She found a job as a jounalist with "The London Weekly", her column was "Miss Harlow's marriages in High Life" and she hated weddings or at least until the couple were married.

Fleeing one of the wedding she was covering she is saved from falling under a carriage by the Duke of Hamilton & Brandon - he is taken with her so asks if he can walk her home. She is smitten with him. They are introduced again shortly when Sophie is asked to cover the Dukes wedding to Clarissa, the daughter of the Duke of Richmond. This is to be a marriage of convenience, the Richmond's need money and Bradon wants a wife who will not involve herself too much in his life.

Brandon is an honourable man with dishonourable thoughts towards Sophie. They meet on a number of occassions which makes for a fun read, then enters Fredrick, the Prince of Bavaria who takes a liking to Clarissa. What is this very honourable double duke to do? Will someone please make the best dicision for him?
Profile Image for Kim.
2,010 reviews65 followers
May 17, 2013
I'm totally torn on my feelings for this book.

Things I didn't like first:

- It takes Brandon a ridiculous amount of time to figure his shit out. 90% of the book was him being unsure of what kind of wife was best for him. If I was Sophie I would have flipped.

- The back and forth - can we be together? no we can't! yes we can! no we can't! got old fast for me. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE ANGST, but when it's the same conflict over and over and over and over I get bored.

Things I loved:

- SOPHIE AND THE WRITING GIRLS. How fantastic to have women doing jobs that typically belonged to men. What a statement! (Especially for that time period)

- Clarissa - How awesome to watch her grow from being a woman who wished to be a wallflower to one in charge of her own destiny? Truly awesome.

I'm definitely going to continue on with the series because I truly do love the Writing Girls. The book was well-written and engaging, minus the repetitive conflict. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the other books in the series don't do this.
Profile Image for Dawn.
715 reviews26 followers
March 26, 2016
I loved this story! Two people, who really should not be together, accidentally meet anonymously and become immediately attracted to each other. The hero, Brandon, is a double duke (never knew there was such a thing) and engaged to the perfect potential duchess. He does not want love involved at all-way too distracting. Sophie, on the other hand, was jilted literally at the altar and now writes about weddings for a newspaper. She is terrified of weddings, ironically. Neither one knew who the other was when they met. They just recognized the attraction. Then she shows up at his home to cover his wedding, having been invited by the bride's mother. Oh boy. What a setup this created.

The story was captivating. I couldn't wait to see what happens next. I just couldn't imagine there was a way out without ruining lives and reputations. But the HEA was oh so clever. Loved it.
Profile Image for Maria.
1,190 reviews4 followers
February 12, 2015
Note: review is based on an audio recording of the book.

Carolyn Morris is a wonderful narrator and this is the first time I’ve had the pleasure of hearing her. This is the first book in the fun Writing Girls’ series and, though Maya Rodale’s writing is engaging, witty, and energetic, I felt the road to happily ever after a bit arduous. And I’m not at all too sure about the hero never really and truly making his choice but rather, having it made for him very conveniently. I also thought the ending a little silly and completely unrealistic.

But I love Maya Rodale’s voice and she is one of my favorite historical romance writers. Her humor is infectious and I can guarantee her books will always make me laugh and smile. But I have mixed feelings about this book.

For my full review on my historical romance and history blog: http://bit.ly/1DIVlac
14 reviews1 follower
February 27, 2014
This book seems like the typical simple Duke and his Wife story. But don't be mistaken, Rodale's book evoked numerous feelings in me I had not thought possible in the simple tale told on that back.

It was anything but simple; the way that it was told, the way it makes readers feel, I know one of the characters was a Duke, trust me...the Lady of the tail does stuff that makes the Duke feel like a commoner. The author has me thrusting myself into different, unknown paths in historical-romance. Happy readings all.
Profile Image for DebbieLisa.
35 reviews9 followers
September 21, 2010
I really enjoyed this, it was a refreshing change from the recent spate of romances I've read with insipid heroines, unlikeable men and heavy/sinister/murderous/kidnapping plots. Enough already, I want more books like this!
I'm giving 4 stars just because I got a bored towards the end (perhaps because I was a bit impatient) but overall I was happy with the story. This was a good, enjoyable, light read, I'm looking forward to more from Maya Rodale.
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