Cover Image: What Happens in the Ballroom

What Happens in the Ballroom

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Member Reviews

I was lucky enough to be given a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I have read many Regency romances and they range from 'can't put it down ' to ' life's too short to waste on this'. This book is definitely in the can't put down category. There is actually a story with sub plots, secrets and mysteries with characters we care about. The ending is a given in this genre but the road that leads there is full of twists and turns and surprises. Thankfully there are no endless descriptions of ballgowns, gentlemen's different sets of clothing and silly conversations between giggly girls and their maids. I am looking forward to being able to read the next book in the series.
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4.5-5 Stars! Loved it! You really can’t go wrong with Sabrina Jeffries! This is the second book in the series ‘Designing Debutantes’ and can be read as a standalone but I’d recommend reading the first book also. The main characters in this book are Nathanial and Eliza. Eliza’s the widow of Nathanial’s friend. I love that the sisters in this series run their own business, ‘Elegant Occasions’ and they’re independent women before it was cool or allowed. Nathanial took some time to actually like. The book wasn’t slow to start, that’s for sure. Had some twists I didn’t see coming and I loved every shocking moment! 
Can’t wait to read Verity’s book with the Phantom man next!
*I received this at no charge & I voluntarily left this review.*
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Rating: 4,5 ⭐️
Spice: 2,5 🌶

Elegant occasions is back! 
This time the spotlight is all on Eliza and Foxstead. 
Lord Foxstead has brought back a ward from the war and now he is trying to find a husband for her. Since Eliza is the widow of his late best friend and she runs Elegant Occasions with her sisters he thinks they are the perfect candidate to get his ward a perfect debut in the ton and setting her up with a good husband. 
But there’s a reason Foxstead wants his ward married off quickly, and it would destroy him and Eliza if the truth would ever come out. 

The second book in the Designing debutantes series by Sabrina Jeffries was a delight to read! 
If you want main characters that know what and who they want, but secrets are interfering with it, this is the one for you.
The chemistry between Eliza and Foxstead is Off. The. Charts! Sparks fly, and they fly big time.

Eliza is an amazing character, Nathaniel is an amazing character. Can’t praise them and their banter enough. The steam though.. pfew. It was hot! 
I’m a sucker for a good carriage steam scene and this delivered! 

Foxstead handling Eliza’s dad was amazing, the talk down Eliza herself gave her dad after was even better. 
The bond between the sisters gets even more solidified in this installment and I can’t praise it enough. 

The way all the secrets were revealed were the only thing that was a bit of a let down for me. There was so much potential for lots and lots of angst and corruption, especially with the threats by major Quinn and the sisters’ dad. 
I do admit to find it refreshing! 2 adults sitting down and talking about the secrets and the conflict that lies between them, so that they might have a shot at happiness. The secrets that were between Eliza and Foxstead were genuine, valid concerns and the conversations between were a delight to read. 

Then let’s talk about the setup for Verity’s story. I was so invested in that! That stranger that keeps spying on the sisters events. I’m very curious how that will unfold! 

Thank you Kensington Books and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC. All my opinions are my own.
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This was my first Sabirna Jefferies book so I wasn't sure what to expect, though considering that she's "one of the biggest names in romance, " I had pretty high expectations.  But...I was disappointed.

Eliza is a widow who runs, with her sisters, a service called Elegant Occasions, which from what I could tell (because it wasn't spelled out), helped young women with their debuts. They do the catering, music, and invitations, so they're basically party planners, I think.  They had to do this because their father disowned Eliza and divorced their mother, so there's a ton of scandal in the family (though the elder sister Diana married a duke).  So Eliza is approached by her late husband's friend, Nathaniel (an earl), who brought his ward that he picked up while he was fighting a war on the Continent. Eliza is apprehensive, not least because the ward seems to be infatuated with Nathaniel. She also suspects that there's more to the relationship between them than what Nathaniel is telling her.  Well, through al ltheir conversations, they apparently start to lust for each other, and as with all romances, they all end up happily ever after.

Lovely story, but I didn't feel the pull between Nathaniel and Eliza. There was no yearning and there just didn't seem to be much between them. I expect my regency romances to have high drama and a lot of lust between the characters, but Eliza and Nathaniel were just kind of there, interacting with each other. There was a lot of telling and not showing, and I had a hard time with the blend of modern behaviors in the regency timeframe. This book was just ok.

Thanks to netgalley for this Advnced Reader Copy. All opinions are entirely my own.
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This was pretty great, I think I enjoyed it more than the predecessor in the series. The characters here were both well developed and the relationship that unfolded for them was complex in a wonderful way. Great depth here and a good choice for fans of historical romances with a more feminist lens.
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I absolutely loved "A Duke for Diana" so I was looking forward to this book eager to see what fate was in store for Diana's widowed sister Eliza. Well, I was not disappointed.. This book was just as good if not better than the first. The story moves along at a very nice pace, with lots of quick witted banter between the sisters along with their menfolk. There are a lot of secrets being held by Nathan and when Eliza discovers the worst of them, well you need to read the book and find out, I will not give spoilers! Eliza learns some shocking truth is all I can say. Oh and I can also tell you that Verity's mystery man makes another appearance and narrowly escapes being caught and revealed. Hmmm, wonder who he is and will he end up being Verity's viscount in the next installment? We shall see. I will be eagerly waiting. Meanwhile I recommend both books in the series. They can be read as standalones but I feel they would work better and you would have a more enjoyable reader experience reading them in order. So grab both and enjoy! 
Thank you to Net Galley and to Kensington Books and to Net Galley for the free ARC, I am leaving my honest review in return.
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We always buy Sabrina Jeffries for our library. Our patrons adore her. She writes the best mix of banter, romance, and plot.
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4.5 stars

A slightly more mature hero/heroine.  Our heroine is a widow, the hero someone who's fancied her from afar and who was instrumental in her husband joining the military.  The books part of a series about three sisters who create an event come mentoring service after the acrimonious divorce of their parents.  I was surprised the mother was allowed to remarry because I thought divorce in those times was very sexist; the man was allowed to remarry to ensure the succession of heirs for his title but not the woman, perhaps she married abroad?

Both Nathanial and Eliza are fairly lusty so a few passionate scenes.  Fairly easy to guess about Jocelin. Nice story.

I  voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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After reading the first book, A Duke for Diana, I just couldn't wait for Eliza and Nathanial's  story especially after since they had such little interaction with each other in book 1. I was eager to see how their relationship was going to happen.

I really loved watching them both work through their own struggles and wounds both on their own at first, and then they were able to come together and tackle the obstacles together. Normally I don't like it when the romance hinges on a lie(s), but there was just so much underlying genuine warmth and tenderness between  them that I felt confident by the end that they were strong enough to face the ugly truths when the time came. 

The reason I give 4 stars and not 5 is that I did not feel like there was very much plot going on. There was a lot of telling and not showing here. I was bored of the actual storyline - if there really was one? The lies/truth were juicy enough to carry the book, but I could have used more "action." But I think we may just get that with Verity and her Phantom Fellow in the next book and I can't wait!

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC. All opinions are my own.
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I don’t know why the title of this book was changed.  I liked the alliterative progression this series had
A Duke for Diana
An Earl for Eliza
then I assume A Viscount for Verity?

What Happens in the Ballroom is a clever take on the Vegas motto but there isn’t a ballroom scene in this book.

I liked the characters of Eliza and Nathaniel and I enjoyed the dynamic between the sisters.

Nathaniel has a lot of secrets and the big reveal of the biggest secret was a bit confusing. I needed to reread this passage more than once to keep the players and their machinations straight.  

That being said I still enjoyed this entry in the Designing Debutants series as Sabrina Jeffries is a favorite of mine.

Thank you NetGalley and Kensington Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Eliza and Nathaniel love story is one of previous acquaintances that feel in love. They have to learn how to trust each other and be open to love.. They have both been shaped by their experiences with love.
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Nathaniel and Eliza's story, second in a series about three sisters, is a cute romp that I mostly enjoyed. I don't think I read the first novel (A Duke for Diana, unless it underwent a name change like this one--formerly An Earl for Eliza), but I was able to follow this one just fine. That said, I think reading them sequentially would probably be better; there seems to be a thread about the Phantom Fellow--likely Verity's hero, and probably a viscount if the original book titling holds true--that carries through. I also wondered if we learned more about Eliza and her first husband (and maybe Nathaniel too) in book 1 that would have enhanced my reading of this one.

But anyway, we quickly learn that eldest sister Eliza is a war widow and that her husband Sam was an ass. Nathaniel, her husband's BFF, also served, and came back to England not only with the news about Sam but with a very young woman (also a war widow) and her son. Nathaniel has asked Eliza and her sisters to help his ward with her debut. Nathaniel has secrets involving Jocelin, secrets that he fears will ruin his growing relationship with Eliza, and these secrets are what drive the story's conflict.

Of the secrets, one is far too obvious; it really can only be one thing. To that end, I think it would have been better had the author let the readers in on the secret early on. Then we could cringe along with Nathaniel and worry how on earth he'll explain his way out of this one rather than be annoyed that something so obvious is supposedly a secret from us. The other one can be figured out but works okay as a secret.

Dialogue is snappy and amusing; Eliza gives as good as she gets and is a heroine to admire. Nathaniel was harder to like, more for the secrets we know he's keeping from Eliza than his distant past as a rakehell. However, he very visibly knows he's mucking things up, and I have to admit it's rather charming. All that said, the obvious secret and what he's asking the sisters to help him with is a little bit of a mood killer.

Would I go back and read Diana's story? Probably. Will I read Verity's? Most likely.

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher and Netgalley. I'm writing this review voluntarily, and it reflects my honest opinion. Thanks!
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“You said you’ve seen me ride. Now I want to see you ride”
This regency romance was a wild ride !!!
I’m absolutely in love !!!!
I had previously read a Duke for Diana which, honestly, felt like one of the best regency romance I’d ever read !!! I thought no one could do better than Diana and Geoffrey … but then Eliza and Nathaniel came up … and they completely changed the scenario !!!!
Eliza is an amazing main characters and I absolutely loved the way she owned her state of widow and how she took power in the effect she had on him. And Nathaniel … that man has a mouth on him !!!! 
I never thought I could feel so thrilled to hear him talk, trying to figure out what he would have said next !!!
Romantic but so spicy !!!! I enjoyed every second of it !!!!
Honestly between the three sister … I cannot wait for Verity story to finally complete the trilogy of the women of this world … and their very wicked and very dirty mouthed men !!!!
“If you’re finding your seat, minx, do it quickly, because I can’t take much more”
“Well … how else am I to slake my hunger and thirst?”
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I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I have read almost all of Ms. Jeffries’ books, and I love the premise of this series—three sisters who own and operate an event planning business, essentially. All of the sisters have strength of character, and the relationships among them are strong. The sisters’ interactions are part of what makes this series, and this book, enjoyable. 

What I particularly liked about this book was the characterization of Eliza and Nathaniel. They had clear personalities, histories, and values that drove their decision making. Were those decisions always wise? No, but they were understandable. Their attraction to each other also was grounded in their history and didn’t feel like insta-lust.
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I must immediately read Sabrina’s backlist because oh my gosh do I love her writing!!! I read an Earl for Eliza in one night with zero regrets. Nathaniel and Eliza were a lot of fun to meet and very easy to love. 

I will say, their relationship definitely went through some tough stuff and there were a lot of lies and hidden truths on Nathaniel’s side. I think he had a pretty good reason, but Eliza is understandably mad and she made some wonderful points. I found that the breakup actually made the story stronger and I had so much respect for her. 

But altogether, if you’re not into lies, maybe stay away from this one. I found the mystery of them interesting and I was never angry, but I do think the cheery writing and great characters helped appease me. I was only ever vexed by Jocelin, but even then all was good in the end and she made the right choices. I was maybe a little less giddy than book one, but more giggly. 

I’m rounding up to five stars because I know I will be rereading this and I know the audiobook will be such a fun time. I have to assume it’s going to be narrated by Beverley A. Crick and let me tell you I LOVE her. I think the audiobook is part of the reason I loved book one so much. Sabrina Jeffries writes such funny and witty dialogue and Crick absolutely delivers. I was laughing out loud like a weirdo while reading this book and can’t wait to hear her interpretation. 

The set-up for Verity’s book has me so confused and so excited. I nearly cried when I read it won’t be coming out until 2024! The curse of reading ARCs! Truly I cannot wait I will be requesting that copy so fast. I really recommend this series. The covers are a bit innocuous, but the stories themselves pack a punch and will satisfy any historical romance fan. 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5/5 🌶️🌶️🌶️*/5

*I think there were two scenes, one in a stationary carriage and one in her bedroom. I think we could’ve used one final scene, or at least a full scene in the epilogue! Neither of these two were virgins and while they steamed up some windows, I think they could’ve burnt down the house. Nathaniel definitely had a bit of a mouth on him. 

CW: Gaslighting and other psychological manipulation (her former husband)

Thanks so much to the publisher for an eARC via NetGalley! All opinions are honest and my own
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I enjoyed A Duke for Diana so I was pleased to see a new book in the series, this time following Eliza - who is married in the first book but is now a widow, with her husband having died on the peninsula. 

Nathaniel, Lord Foxtead was her husband's best friend, and has come back from the war having inherited the Earldom from his father. He has a ward in tow, with a small child, and he asks Elegant Occasions to help Jocelin (a widow... we think?) launch in society and find herself a husband. 

Nothing is quite as it seems, and amidst a bit of mystery, some lovely garden parties, and some definite sparks between Eliza and Nathaniel, we eventually find out what's what. 

We also catch sight of the 'phantom' a couple of times - but none the wiser to his identity. I do hope Verity finds out in the next book! 

Small gripes - the writing is generally pretty good but then occasionally wavers in to 'cranky' and 'Period.' etc which jars you out of the scenes and is a bit of a shame. I feel like that could be fairly easily caught by an editor with an eye for anachronism, which would make me up a star :) 

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
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Loved the first one and love this one too.looking forward to the next one. Fun, charming. I wonder what it would have been like in that time period
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Nathaniel Stanton, the Earl of Foxstead, is a war hero. He has never forgotten his deceased friend’s wife. Nathaniel decides to hire Eliza and her sisters to help his ward find a suitable suitor. He harbors a shocking secret that could destroy both Eliza and his ward. Attraction blooms between them, and Nathaniel finds that he cannot keep his hands off Eliza. However, the truth threatens to destroy their budding relationship. Can Nathaniel convince Eliza to forgive him? And at what cost?
Eliza Pierce is a widow. She co-owns a successful party planner business with her sisters. Her late husband’s friend approaches Eliza to help his ward debut in high society. She suspects Nathaniel is keeping something from her but reluctantly agrees. Eliza cannot ignore her growing attraction to the rapscallion earl. She soon learns the devastating truth about his ward and her young son. Can Eliza forgive Nathaniel for all his secrets and lies? Or will her late husband’s treachery destroy any possibility of a future?
Nathaniel is such a sweetheart! He has this mischievous and infectious charm that makes him hard to resist. I like how Nathaniel’s stint in the army changed him for the better. It opened his awareness to a lot of injustices in the world. Plus, it helped him give up his rakehell ways. What I adore the most about Nathaniel is his thoughtfulness towards Eliza. He has always liked and admired her. However, Nathaniel kept a respectful distance from her to keep from betraying his friend. Plus, he tried to keep from causing her more pain with the truth about her late husband.
Eliza is such an amazing woman! She, along with her sisters, has managed to overcome many obstacles. I understand Eliza’s distrust with men. Her father and late husband really did a number on her mentally and emotionally. The two men tried to dictate her life without any regards of her feelings. What I admire the most about Eliza is how she proves that she does not need a man to succeed. Elegant Occasions’ success is proof of that, especially during the rigid strictures women faced in that era.
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE BALLROOM is the second book in Sabrina Jeffries’ historical romance series, DESIGNING DEBUTANTES. The story can easily stand alone. However, I suggest reading the prior book first. It explains the three sisters’ background and why they started their business.
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Eliza is a younger widow who owns part of Elegant Occasions.  Her late husband's best friend hires the company to help another widow.   He is highly attracted to Eliza but he has complicated issues....   

Another book in this romantic series.  It's dramatic, romantic and sweet.   I like both main characters a lot.   I like the women's friendship a lot. too.   An excellent follow-up to A duke for Diana.  A terrific read.

Thanks to the publisher for the arc.
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This book was so good. There was banter, there was steam, there was funny situations. Complex, intense characters heat up the pages with scintillating love scenes amid the intrigue. Jeffries continues to impress, and romance fans will eagerly await the next book.
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