Review: Unladylike Rules of Attraction (The Marleigh Sisters, #2) by Amita Murray


Print Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Avon (May 14, 2024)

From Anya Marleigh is a singer and sitar player in Queen Charlotte’s court. She is left a fortune by Dowager Countess Budleigh, one of her elderly clients who used to hire her for musical evenings. But there is a condition attached. Anya must marry before her next birthday if she wants to see any of the fortune. The executor of the will is an insufferably conceited man who must consent to her marriage—if he doesn’t give his consent, the fortune reverts to him. 

But Damian Ashton is only part of the problem. The Budleigh family see Anya as a usurper. They believe the fortune is rightfully theirs, and they will do all in their power—including accusing Anya of murder and Damian of some dubious and criminal dealings—to get their hands on the fortune. 

Now Anya must do everything she can to thwart their efforts, save herself from the gallows, and at the same time, resist the powerful attraction she feels towards Damian—who surely is only interested in keeping the Budleigh money. Can Anya sort out the tangle—or must she lose her heart to find her fortune?  

My Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

The main thing that I have to point out is that they meet each other for the first time at the reading of the Dowager's will, and  as soon as they are alone, he's already kissing the inside of her bare wrist showing that this will indeed be a case of insta-lust, something I hate with a passion. And it may be because of this that I simply did not enjoy these two together. Sure, they occasionally exchanged some witty barbs with one another, but I never saw them actually falling into anything other than lust. In fact, I barely thought they were friends, and then they were sleeping together. 

Secondly, I don't think I have ever met a couple with more bad luck than Anya and Damian. These two were very seriously the epitome of "if it can go wrong, it will." 

First there are attempts made on Anya's life  starting right after it was announced that she would inherit (although they were so odd at first you have to wonder if the person behind them was serious or not). When that doesn't work, she is then accosted (on the palace grounds nonetheless), and someone ends up dead. Now, I know there were other more important things happening at that same time, but it still seems odd that Anya would have missed a crucial piece of what might be considered evidence when she was checking the body for a sign of life. But she does. And thus, she is blackmailed even more. 

Which somehow leads to Damian, his brother, his brothers friend and Anya's own sister not only getting involved but coming up with a scheme that while brilliant in some aspects, is also rather dumb in others. And yet, despite there being an actual brilliant story-line within that scheme, it is tossed aside for, you guessed it more blackmail! Only this time they are going to go after Damian and the old rumor that he killed his predecessor just to inherit a title he didn't want. 

Now while our rag-tag group of amateur sleuths are busy trying to figure out how to extricate Damian from this mess, something big happens. And Damian automatically assumes the worst of Anya (do you see what I mean about it only being lust)? Lots of angst happens, Anya does some dumb shit (like literally accosting a highwayman she suspected of murder and expecting him to openly admit it)? She gets rescued, Damian realizes he's in love with her, but of course she is much too prideful to admit she feels the same (especially since you know he entrusted her with information on one else knew, and once that truth was brought to light he rightfully assumed she had given the information since she didn't like his valet in the first place, and he was too stupid to realize it might be a set up). 

Ah heck, I am rambling. Much like this novel tended to do. In fact, I do hope before it gets published, someone does some edits because honestly, how many times do we have to read that Damian is mad because Anya is talking to a potential suitor when he has this dimwitted plan to propose to her? 

And please don't get me started on the ending, and how not only did things not actually get resolved, but Anya goes and does one of the stupidest things I've ever seen a character do (although maybe that's just me and Anya is a better person than I am who knows at this point). 

All things considered, I don't think I will continue on with this series, although I may give this author another chance down the road. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

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