Suzanne Enoch: By Love Undone


Madeleine Willits was shunned by London society for a scandal that was no fault of hers, and forced her to seek a paid position in the country.  So when Quinlan Bancroft, Marquis of Warfield, comes to direct the household during his uncle’s illness, Maddie is determined to detest the nobleman on sight.  But though the marquis is easy to dislike, the man himself is a different matter. Quinlan’s aplomb in the face of mud, demented pigs, and musket-waving villagers is deucedly appealing.   Small wonder, then, that Maddie quite forgets to repulse Quinlan when he enfolds her in a sweet embrace…


Caught kissing his uncle’s lovely young companion, Quinlan feels he should make amends, and use his rank to re-establish Miss Willits in society.  Unfortunately, it is soon apparent that Maddie has no idea how to resist importunate young rakes who believe her ripe for the plucking.  But Maddie knows there is only one rake whose attentions she truly needs to fear-because only Quinlan Bancroft posses the power to break her heart.

The synopsis taken from the back of the book pretty much sums up the plot.  However, had I not been urgently searching the shelves at my local used bookshop and almost come up empty, I probably wouldn’t have picked this one up based on the plot line.

Granted, the cover is beautiful and I actually think both the models are attractive (sometimes, eek!).  But there is something about the last two sentences that plagues me.  Good thing then, that this was not truly reflected in the writing.

I have read Suzanne Enoch before. most memorably in her contribution to the Lady Whistledown anthologies.

But I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of emotion throughout.  I actually cared about the characters and almost shed a tear of pain and frustration on several pages.

The thing is, she does nice work with her characters.  Some of them you hate.  They aren’t nefarious or caricatures of villians.  Instead, they are real people who have some very unlikable traits.  Snobbery being one of them.

Maddie, the heroine, is outspoken with a fiery temper yet a deep empathy for people.  Not to give too much away, but it breaks my heart to hear the recount of her journey.

And the hero is delicious and actually goes through something resembling a true character arc.

I highly recommend checking out By Love Undone if you are a fan of character centric stories.  Oh, and there is a carriage chase scene for those gals craving a bit of action.

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