Title: The Taming of Annabelle (The Six Sisters, Book #2)
Author: Marion Chesney
Copyright: January 14, 2014
Format: E-Book, 249 Pages
Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Romantic Suspense, Sibling/Sisters Fiction
Price: $6.99 [Kindle], $9.95 [Audible], $8.49 [Nook], $18.55 [Barnes and Noble Audiobook], $13.95 [Google Play Audiobooks], $6.99 [Apple Books], $12.99 [Apple Books Audiobook]
Blue-eyed blonde Annabelle Armitage envies eldest sister Minerva her intended, Lord Sylvester Comfrey. Their hunt-happy vicar father assigned Minerva the job of saving their family fortunes. Sylvester’s best friend, Lord Peter, Marquess of Brabington, falls in love with Annabelle and has to fight his beloved to win her heart.
Annabelle Armitage is the undeniable “belle” of her family. She is largely neglected by her selfish father, Mr. Charles Armitage, the Vicar of St. Charles and St. Jude and her invalid mother, Mrs. Armitage, who always fancies herself ill. Annabelle was featured as a minor character in the first installment in the “Six Sisters” series, Minerva. In “The Taming of Annabelle,” she is the heroine and central focus of the story. Now that her older sister, Minerva is affianced to Lord Sylvester Comfrey, our vain heroine sets her sights on him. She decides that she will seduce Lord Sylvester and steal him from her sister.
In all of the exciting events surrounding Minerva’s wedding, Annabelle makes a fool of herself. She tries desperately to attract Lord Sylvester who only looks on her with awkwardness and indifference. In fact, she makes quite a spectacle of herself while they are at the grand estate of the Duke and Duchess of Allsbury, the parents of Lord Sylvester. She uses regency cant (a common slang) and engages in unladylike conversation that causes the Duchess of Allsbury to look down upon her in disapprobation. When she realizes that she will not get anywhere with Lord Sylvester, she turns to his beloved friend, Peter, Marquess of Brabington. The handsome and quiet young man is recuperating after participation in the Peninsular War. It is then that Annabelle hatches a plot to become the new Marchioness of Brabington. This way, even if she cannot have Lord Sylvester, she will still rank higher than her sister in the peerage. Will this devious belle succeed?
In this second installment by Marion Chesney, it was such an enjoyable regency romp. In Annabelle we have the quintessential heroine whose arrogance is in proportion to her vanity. She thinks she can have it all because she is the superior sister, after all. While there is much to enjoy in such a protagonist, there is a great deal to dislike as well. The writing and description of Annabelle was quite strong. We could glimpse into her mind and get a sense of her motivations. She reminded me of one of those mean girls in high school. I am pretty ergo I must have the best.
The overall characterization was wonderful. The characters came alive so vividly on the page. Lady Godolphin, who was one of my least favorite characters in Minerva, was a more enjoyable figure in this book. Of course, we had the usual cast of characters such as the Vicar, his wife, Minerva, Lord Sylvester, and the Marquess. I even enjoyed the characterization of the Duchess of Allsbury who was as detestable as I thought she would be.
The descriptions were equally as gorgeous as they were in the first book. This is something that Ms. Chesney does so very well. She describes the world in which they live, the clothing that the characters wear, and the intricacies of social etiquette. The dialogue, as ever, was fun and at times quite punchy. This is something that this author does well. It creates a sense of authenticity.
For the most part, the plot was solid and the pacing was steady. There were lulls when the story slowed down a bit. One thing I wasn’t quite a fan of was the lukewarm romance between Annabelle and the Marquess. I found his characterization to be as flat and his actions wooden at times. He can’t hold a candle to Lord Sylvester, the hero from the first installment. The way in which the romance unfolded and the ways in which Annabelle continued to make a fool of herself was a tad tiresome.
Overall, this was a pretty fun read. While it had some wonderful aspects, I ultimately found the romance to be dull and the plot lacking. For this reason, I give “The Taming of Annabelle” four stars. Ms. Chesney’s writing is still quite delightful to read. I will revisit her other novels in the future.