Ministry of Marriage 1-3 by Christina Brooke

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Publication Date: June 28th, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN:  0312534124
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Romance/Regency
Lootability: ***

Jane, Lady Roxdale, has endured one marriage of convenience decreed by the Ministry of Marriage. While she deeply regrets her late husband’s death, she is relieved to be free at last. But when a dissolute rake threatens everything Jane holds dear, she must contemplate marrying a second time…Disgraced libertine Constantine Black inherits his cousin Roxdale’s land and title—while Roxdale’s prim widow is left all the wealth. Constantine is not a marrying man, but wedding Jane is the only way to save the estate from ruin. Jane resists the smoldering heat between them, desperate not to fall in love with an unrepentant rake. But for the first time ever, Constantine wants more than seduction. He wants all of her—body, heart, and soul…
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Publication Date: January 3rd, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
ISBN:  0312534132
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Romance/Regency
Lootability: ***

Lady Rosamund Westruther has no objection to the match arranged for her by the Ministry—until she meets her intended. Gruff, stubborn Griffin, Earl of Tregarth, is hardly the charming nobleman the classic beauty has dreamed of for so long. While a proper lady can’t cry off, shecan demand a proper courtship …
Griffin is aware of his duty to wed—and more convinced than ever that the lovely Rosamund has no place with a man like him. Built for fields and stables rather than drawing rooms, Griffin doubts he can win her in the polite manner society requires. But with every passing day, the attraction between them flares higher and hotter. Maybe there is more to love than meets the eye…

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Publication Date: June 26th, 2012
Publisher: June 26th, 2012 ARC provided by NetGalley
ISBN:  0312534140
Age Group: Adult,
Genre: Romance/Regency
Lootability: ***
Lady Cecily Westruther is nothing if not practical. By agreeing to marry an older duke who already has an heir and a mistress, she can assume a wifely role—without the wifely duties. Only one thing stands in her way—a  letter that could destroy her betrothal. Desperate to retrieve that letter, Cecily must match wits with the most dangerously seductive man she’s ever known...
Disguised as a footman, Cecily gains entry to her adversary’s house—only to be unmasked by London’s most powerful man. Rand, Duke of Ashburn, is accustomed to getting any woman he wants—and he wants Cecily. He will stop at nothing, including seduction, to make her his. But Rand holds a secret more shocking and destructive than that letter could ever be...
The Ministry of Marriage is an organisation started by the Duke of Montford, caretaker of 6 of his young family members,that organises the marriages, and at times prevents them, of the English aristocracy.

What I Liked: The women in the Ministry of Marriage books are dynamic and enterprising, they have strong (and passionate) opinions, and are intensely sensual women. Jane has a maturity that Rosamund and Cecily lack, Rosamund has an astounding capacity for love and Cecily has an undeniable and quirky personality. Their personalities were defined in Heiress in Love, though each woman was fully characterised in their own story.
The men of the Ministry of Marriage books are less appealing, Constantin (Heiress) and Rand (Duchess) are rakish rogues, arrogant, passionate and determined to have their own way. It was Griffin (Earl) that was best defined as a romantic interest, although his Beauty and the Beast sufferings were hardly unique.
Of course, they were devilishly....handsome and they have propensity to ravish their chosen women until they have succumbed to their male charms.
The story focused more on the relationships between man and woman than the events taking place around them.

What I Didn't Like: I do enjoy a story with a strong focus on relationships but I generally desire something with a little more exciting. I wouldn't want something as daringly adventurous as Elizabeth Hoyt's books, but I would like more friction between characters, and more problems to keep them apart - particularly in Duchess. The ending was somewhat disappointing, with a resolution that comes far too easily, and quite confusingly. Everything happens quite suddenly, without much fuss and is very easily resolved.
Earl has an unsolved murder, which could eventually, become an impediment to the romance of Griffin and Rosamund, but is more of a side story than a true part of the novel.

I enjoyed the Ministry of Marriage novels but I would like a little more out of these books. The story needs a little more adventure, but the romance is devilishly endearing.


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