Author: Heather Boyd
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Romance
Source: Kindle Recommendation
Favourite Quote: ‘”There is one other option you haven’t considered, Pixie,” Jack whispered.
She peered up at him. No one had voiced an alternative to marriage. If he had a suggestion, she certainly wanted to hear it. “Tell me?”
Darkness hid Jack’s face, and he was silent so long she wondered if he would answer. “There is always life on the high seas.”
Constance used her free hand to thump his chest. He laughed softly.”
Constance Grange is perfectly content in life, she has a lovely home at Thistlemore with her mother, a beautiful horse companion and a wonderful fiancé who will help her with running the estate once they are married. When she goes to visit her dearest friend Virginia Ettington in London, she can’t hide her shock and embarrassment when debt collectors knock on the door demanding payment for her parents unknown gambling debts. Constance has been left with two options, she can either go to debtor’s prison, or she can go against everything she believes in and become a fortune hunter to find a wealthy husband to pay off her parents debts to secure her future. With help from Virginia, they come up with a list of potential suitors that will save her from her ruin. She’ll have to come out in society on the arms of Virginia’s brother; Jack, the Marquess of Ettington, her previous cold-hearted guardian who will no doubt take charge of the whole conquest.
Jack will do anything to see his twin sister well again, her depression and discomfort has gone on too long. He brings his previously frustrating ward back to the house to bring some light back into Virginia’s life, but a surprise visit comes for Constance which brings to light her parents gambling debts, brings a tense atmosphere. When Virginia comes up with a plan to find a husband for Constance, he can’t help but get angry, even if it has brought a purpose back to his sisters life. This was not what he had in mind at all. Jack had never cared much for marriage before, but knowing his name didn’t even make the suitors list leaves him surprisingly disappointed.
‘The second, and most puzzling, was his reaction to that list. By the time he’d read the third name, he’d known what it was meant for. Pixie was hunting a rich husband. Fury, unlike anything he’d know before, had lashed at him. He had held back from throttling her by the skin of his teeth.
Yet Jack had forced himself to read the rest of the names, to be sure he had not misunderstood. All of them were single gentlemen, wealthy – and all younger than him.
Jack, to his considerable horror, was angry because his own name hadn’t been anywhere on the damned list.’
I’ve never read anything by Heather Boyd before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when ‘Chills’ came up in my recommendations. I love historical fiction based in the 1800s so it didn’t take a lot of convincing for me to download it. It did not disappoint in the slightest! The setting was great, the characters were brilliant and the entire storyline kept me wanting more. I could not put the book down. It’s the type of story that will make you laugh out loud, will make you smile to yourself on a public train, you’ll feel sad, happy, excited and even swoon in parts, it hit the favourites list straight away. I’m keen to discover more from Heather Boyd.
The story was told from both the perspective of Constance, nicknamed ‘Pixie’ by Jack and Virginia who have known her since childhood, and from Jack’s perspective as the Marquess of Ettington. I don’t think the story would have worked as well without both points of view, it was definitely interesting to witness Pixie’s means to clear her family’s name from his perspective and how he feels about the whole situation, caring not about damaged reputation by association but how he can help her instead.
I really liked the characters, each of them bringing a unique spark to the story from Constance’s strong disposition when faced with ruin, Virginia’s quiet secrets that control her ability to join society comfortably, Jack’s warm heart hidden behind a cold mask that he likes to portray in his position as the Marquess, and Lord Hallam with his damn-with-propriety sarcastic strong-willed nature. Each character brings a powerful dynamic to the group which never gets boring, Hallam will have you laughing out loud with his outrageous comments to Virginia who can’t help but match his behaviour with her own assertive remarks when she isn’t letting her past haunt her.
‘She finally looked up with scowl for Hallam. “At least he knew how to present a respectable image in public.”
“Oh, I know how to dress – and undress too,” Hallam challenged. “I could show you my expertise. Privately.”
Virginia gasped; her gaze bore holes into Hallam.
“Glad to see I have your complete attention,” Hallam grinned.’
Jack was definitely my favourite character, he was everything you could want in a historical romance. He had power, knowledge, a strong disposition, he was true and kind-hearted even if he didn’t like to show it beyond the walls of his home. His feelings for Pixie were innocent and confusing which was even more endearing to read. He doesn’t care about what others think of him when he hides behind his stern and callous mask in society, as long as he stays true to what matters. The relationship between him and Pixie is exciting with their constant heated arguing, he can’t help but remain protective of her even though his role as her guardian ceased years ago.
The setting was great, the author did a fantastic job at setting the scene with little detail required, instead focusing on character building and discourse which were very well paced. You could place yourself in the scene straight away, whether it was in the sitting room at Ettington house, horseback riding through Hyde Park, in a ballroom or standing on the balcony looking out over the gardens. Not to mention the mysterious hidden passages within the Ettington House.
‘She crossed the cold, gritty tiles barefoot, breathing deeply of the night air, and signed at this little bit of freedom. London was so very dirty, and the abrasion under her toes made her miss the country even more. She leaned against the balcony’s railing to look over the night-shrouded gardens. Even without the clarity of day, they were very pretty. She would love to go down, to talk on the paths and grass, to lie upon a blanket to gaze up at the stars. However, when she looked up at the sky, she saw no stars. The clouds had thickened until almost no moonlight shone through.’
Jack, Marquess of Ettington, is at his wits’ end dealing with his twin sister’s distress. Under her name, he’s summoned Constance Grange, his vexing former ward, to London to act as his sister’s companion for the season. Although Pixie’s debt-ridden state comes as a complete surprise, what disturbs him more is his sister’s plan to find her a wealthy husband to pay off her overwhelming debts. And—despite his availability, wealth and title—he’s shocked to be overlooked for the position of Pixie’s husband.
With a nickname like Pixie, Constance Grange should be used to disasters, but debt collectors pounding on the Marquess of Ettington’s door demanding payment is beyond mortifying. Given the precarious state of her finances and the previously unknown loss of her family estate, her choices are either incarceration in debtors’ prison or turning fortune hunter to secure a wealthy husband. Yet the man who comes to her rescue more times than she cares to think about is unavailable, betrothed, and her former guardian Jack—the cold-hearted marquess.