Cover Image: What Happens in the Ballroom

What Happens in the Ballroom

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Member Reviews

Young military widow Eliza and her sisters run Elegant Occasions, an event planning business, in Regency London. When her late husband's best friend approaches her to help bring his ward into society and find her a match, Eliza reluctantly agrees. But the more time she spends with Nathaniel, the more questions she has about the young widow. Is she Nathaniel's mistress? Is her toddler son actually his? Is Nathaniel the blackguard her husband always led her to believe, or is he really a decent man who just wants the best for the women in his life? And why can't she stop thinking about kissing him?

Another satisfying entry in Jeffries' Designing Debutantes series. I'm looking forward to sister Verity's book next!

Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher, and the author for the ARC to review. All opinions are my own.
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I love a historical romance with a widowed FMC - This always gives the story a deeper element because it takes away the blushing girl aspect.

Eliza and her sisters have opened a business helping women secure a match in society. Eliza has to venture down this path when her husband dies and left her with nothing 

In walks in Nate has a young widowed woman with him and is asking for help. Nate is also a good friend of her late husband 

As sparks start to ignite - Eliza is up for an affair but isn't willing to be married again. Meanwhile, Nate has secrets he doesn't want to uncover and one of them being that he has always wanted Eliza 

I enjoyed this one and the mystery of it as well. Nate and Eliza were able to be open with each other regarding their desires and I found that refreshing. The supporting characters were perfect for the story and I hope to see them in their romances in the future 

a recommendation from me for sure
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Sabrina Jeffries does it again. How can an you not fall in love with this story. With characters that you will instanly fall in love with. This is a happily ever after you can't wait to unfold. A story of unexpected twists & tons of hidden secrets this story will keep you on the edge of
your seat. Then you add in wonderful romance that will melt your heart. This was a book that I couldn't put down. I highly recommend it for those historical romance lovers who want an intriguing story full of romance, it's perfect.
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This second installment in Sabrina Jeffries' Designing Debutants is romantic, heart felt and such and interesting edition to this series. I was charmed by the first novel and I have been utterly taken with the second. I found Sabrina Jeffries' writing to have such a charm and ease to it, quickly drawing me into the story and keeping me invested with interesting and well rounded characters and charming plots. Jeffries' style of storytelling is accessible, well paced and has an elegant grace that works beautifully within a period setting while still being very conversational and engaging. This book can easily be read as a standalone, but is perfectly delightful within reading order. If you have never picked up a Sabrina Jeffries, you absolutely must, she is definitely a gem in the historical romance genre that was a large backlist to continue to explore and is still churning out wonderful additions to the genre!

This novel is really beautifully balanced between the budding romance, character development and subtle plot. I adored our heroine, Eliza, she is kind and hard working and she has a really beautiful and open heart. The hero, Nathaniel is also such a strong and caring gentleman, his actions are driven by the love and respect he has for the people around him, which I absolutely love. I love that this romance has a touch of the forbidden woven into it, Nathaniel is Eliza's late husband's best friend, he also has some family secrets he believes make him un-marriageable. Jeffries beautiful builds their relationship through subtle temptation, their is a deep understanding between these two that grows and gets explored through their trust with each other and the physical side of their relationship. Jeffries does such a lovely job crafting the temptation and chemistry and escalating it into a physical exploration that is sensual, romantic and sexy. While there is a driving plot, the true heart and growth of this story is between Eliza and Nathaniel, they are the heart and soul and perfect stunning. These two find hope, happiness and the joy of a different future than they initially expected.

Definitely pick this novel up! I absolutely adored it, I was swept up into this romance and was so charmed by their story. Sabrina Jeffries is a must read historical romance author and this book is a fantastic place to start if you have not had the joy of reading her before.
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What Happens in the Ballroom by Sabrina Jeffries
2nd book in the Designing Debutants series.  Historical romance. Can be read as a stand-alone.
Widow Eliza Pierce helps run Elegant Occasions. Nathaniel Stanton, the Earl of Foxstead, goes to Elegant Occasions to find a husband in society for a young military widow. The two are attracted to each other but secrets can cause misunderstandings. 

This couple has sparks! He’s trying to help at a cost to himself and does it unselfishly. The carriage ride was amusingly frisky. The added depth of a storyline beyond the ton and balls and debutantes was refreshing. 

I received a copy of this from NetGalley.
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❤️❤️❤️❤️ out of 5
Sabrina Jeffries is one of the authors that pulled me into historical romance and she hasn’t lost her touch! The characters were engaging, the romance pulled me in and I didn’t want it to end.

Our heroine and her sisters are hired by our hero to introduce his ward into society to find her a match. Both our hero and heroine have history with our hero being best friends with our heroine’s dead husband. Now they are spending a lot of time together and they both want each other…. Bad.

This book is lighthearted and while there is definitely some angst it doesn’t lose its light tone. The chemistry between the hero and heroine was great, and that carriage scene 🔥🔥🔥. I somehow haven’t read the book before this but I will rectify that immediately!
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Nathaniel Stanton, the Earl of Foxstead, has returned to London after selling his commission and taking up the reins of earl.  He seeks help from the Harper sisters to find a husband for his widowed ward and a father for her son. He also wants to pursue his infatuation of Eliza Pierce, the widow of his friend and the oldest Harper sister. But Nat is carrying a lot of secrets that interfer with his affair with Eliza. If he is willing to tell all, he may have a chance for more with Eliza as his wife. A few moments of humor, especially a play on words. Verbal sparring between sisters with one that's pregnant. Heated encounters not just in the bedroom. I may have not been glued to the pages, but it's a very entertaining book. My guess is the identity of the Phantom Fellow will be in the next book.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book.
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An Earl for Eliza
5 Stars

This is the second book in Jeffries’ Designing Debutantes series focussing on three sisters who open an agency to help young debutantes make their debuts into society. We had middle sister, Diana’s story in A Duke for Diana and now we have the story of oldest sister Eliza (which was originally to be titled An Earl for Eliza). As to whether the stories stand alone - in terms of the romance, absolutely, yes. However there were characters mentioned, and discussions of things that had happened in the first book that weren’t re-explained. Having said that, I have read the first book and I couldn’t remember some of the things I was expected to remember.

Eliza Pierce is a young widow whose marriage has put her off men for good. Well, except for her husband’s best friend, Nathaniel Stanton, the Earl of Foxstead - the last man she should really fall for, and not just because he’s the biggest rogue that ever lived. I liked Eliza as a heroine and it’s always fun to have a widow as a heroine as they definitely were able to have the most fun of all women of the Regency. Eliza’s plans to have an affair with Nathaniel were totally understandable - as was her failure at keeping herself from falling in love.

I had a bit more trouble figuring out Nathaniel’s motivations. At times he seemed to be following his lust in wanting only an affair with Eliza. At other times, I wondered whether he had some sort of unrequited love for Eliza even before she had been married. I think I would have been happier if that angle had been pursued. Nathanial also had a whole host of secrets which were ultimately the reason for the conflict between our couple. These weren’t too egregious although I admit to getting myself all confused when things were came out.

With Eliza being a widow, there were many more possibilities for Nathaniel and Eliza to be together. We still got some nice teasing and building of the sexual tension before their first encounter - in a carriage in a carriage house - oh my! It was fun and sexy, and I liked our pair as a couple both in and outside the bedroom - or the carriage house!

Sabrina Jeffries always manages to suck me into the lives of her characters and the dazzling world of Regency England. She weaves her words so seamlessly that you don’t even realise that you’ve fallen in love with the characters and have such rich detail of the world around them as they themselves fall in love. She’s one of, if not my favourite Regency romance authors and I’m always delighted to read a book of hers. While this book might not be my favourite of hers, and it also has one or two niggles, it still entertained me and I was always happy to pick it up and read just a bit more. And now I can’t wait to read Verity’s story - presumably with the dastardly Phantom Fellow that’s been following her around for two whole books now. But for Eliza’s story, still a solid 5 stars and a recommended read if you enjoy rich, detailed Regency romances.
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What do you get when you pair a secret-hating heroine with a hero who has more big secrets than you can count? You get an excellently written, well-paced story that is filled with characters that are both likable and relatable. I thought Geoffrey from the first book had a lot of secrets, but his can’t hold a candle to Nathaniel’s – especially for life-altering consequences should they be revealed.

Mrs. Eliza Pierce is – the disowned daughter of an earl, a widow, a loving sister, an owner of Elegant Occasions, and a despiser of secrets and deceit. Yes, she despises secrets and deceit because they were constantly present during her marriage. When her husband was killed died during battle, she mourned who she thought he was when she married him, but not who she found him really to be. She wasn’t provided for after his death and only had a home because her grandmother left it to her, so she started Elegant Occasions to provide for herself and her sisters. When Nathaniel Stanton, Earl of Foxstead wants to hire Elegant Occasions to bring-out his ward who is also a war widow, Eliza senses he isn’t sharing everything she needs to know – and she doesn’t like it. Is Jocelin really Nathaniel’s mistress and not his ward? Is James(Jimmy) actually Nathaniel’s son? He certainly seems inordinately attached to Jocelin and Jimmy – and they to him. If she is his mistress and Elegant Occasions sponsors her, it will ruin their reputation and livelihood.

Nathaniel is a man of secrets. Those secrets, if revealed, could ruin the lives of a great many people – people he cares about. He’s fabricated a stack of lies and half-truths to explain so many things that it is nearly impossible not to slip up. Many of those secrets revolve around his commanding officer, the best man he’s ever met, Major General James Anson – who died in the same battle as Eliza’s husband. The General tasked Nathaniel with the guardianship of his daughter, Jocelin, and Nathaniel will honor that pledge no matter the cost. Nathaniel will also keep General Anson’s other secrets as well – no matter the cost – and the cost might just be his future happiness.

There is a long-time attraction between Nathaniel and Eliza and now that she is a widow, that attraction blooms into – lust definitely – but maybe more? It doesn’t matter because she doesn’t trust him – or any other man – and never plans to remarry. He doesn’t plan to marry either – at least not until he has to – and at least not until long after Jocelin and Jimmy are settled. Can Nathaniel come to trust Eliza enough to tell her his secrets? How can he profess to love her if he doesn’t trust her? Can Eliza come to trust Nathaniel if he can’t/won’t share his secrets? You’ll just have to read this lovely book to find the answers.

There is so much to enjoy in this book – a delightful 3-year-old boy, wonderful visits with Diana and Geoffrey from the first book, two romances, and mysterious appearances by a Fantom Fellow. Could the Fantom Fellow be the match for Verity in the next book? She is certainly intrigued by him. While this book is part of a series, it holds up well as a standalone. However, the origins of Elegant Occasions and how three aristocratic sisters came together to start the business are excellently told in the first book.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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London - 1812

Nathaniel Stanton, the Earl of Foxstead, age 30, has contacted Mrs. Eliza Pierce.  She is the widow of his old friend, Samuel, who was killed in the war where they fought together.  Nathaniel is now the guardian of Mrs. Jocelin March, 20, and mother to 2-year-old, James.  He needs to find a proper husband for Jocelin.  

Eliza and her two sisters, Verity and Diana, run Elegant Occasions which helps people throw a successful social event.  Nathanial hopes that the sisters can put together social events to introduce Jocelin to some eligible men.  What Eliza sees when introduced to the young lady is that she is clearly attracted to Nathanial.  Therefore, the sisters think it would be better if Nathaniel not attend any of the events they hold for Jocelin so she doesn’t express her attraction to him.

Nathaniel has always been drawn to Eliza and is ready to express his desire for her.  She feels the same way.  They kiss and Jocelin sees them which they hope will help the young woman realize that a relationship with him is impossible.

The plot here is quite involved and takes a lot of concentration to keep up with it.  At times I felt it was a bit convoluted which I didn’t like.  However, as I have read another book in this series, I had an idea of the characters.  I am looking forward to Verity’s story, especially now that I have a feel for what all is happening.

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Loved the characters and setting of this one. Romantic and fun! Sabrina Jeffries does great mystery elements and always has great banter. Will definitely read more by this author. 

thank you to net galley for the ARC. All opinions are my own.
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Eliza is a widow who runs an event planning business with her sisters but helps debutants and men looking for wives as part of the service. Her husband died in the war on the Peninsula and was a gaslighting gambler. It has taken time and effort for Eliza to become the self-assured businesswoman she is now, and marriage would only ruin this, right?

Nathanial is the Earl of Foxstead and is the guardian of the delightful widow Mrs March and young Jimmy. He is a war hero and reformed rake. Nathanial has his heart set on getting Mrs March wed to repay Mrs March's father, general Anston, whom he owes so much since the war. However, after seeing Eliza again, he realises Eliza's husband may not have been telling the truth about her.

Will Mrs March get married again? Will it be to Nathanial? Will a secret tryst be enough for Nathanial and Eliza? What happens in the carriage and what are all these secrets??

Another cracking story from Sabrina Jefferies. This one was fun with just a couple of spice scenes to keep me interested. I loved the growth of both characters and look forward to reading Verity's story soon.
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This book was lots of fun to read.  Eliza and Nathaniel have sizzling chemistry.  Characters from the previous book do return but this book does work as a standalone.  Nathaniel has a few secrets that he needs to keep.  He is afraid of losing Eliza forever when the truth comes out.  The widowed Eliza was not completely devastated by the loss of her husband, but she does have misgivings about pursuing a relationship with a rakehell like Nathaniel.  Fortunately, everything does get sorted out in the end.  I was given a free ARC by NetGalley and this is my honest review.
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What a treat! Sabrina Jeffries did it again! 
A young military widow, Eliza Pierce is enjoying both freedom and financial success as part of Elegant Occasions. When her late husband’s best friend, Nathaniel Stanton, the Earl of Foxstead, hires Elegant Occasions to help another young widow of an officer become part of high society, Eliza wonders why. Is the woman a relative? Or is she the earl’s mistress and her adorable toddler his child? If so, why does he take Eliza in his arms every chance he gets . . .
Foxstead’s family situation makes it difficult for him to marry, so his visceral attraction to his best friend’s widow is an unwelcome complication. Burdened by family secrets and those of his commanding officer, he’s determined to do his duty even when it means being around Eliza every day. But how can he resist when the fetching Eliza keeps tempting him to break his own rules? For if he dares to expose the truth, will she ever forgive him? 
This book was a great surprise. The story is compelling and addictive. I loved Nathaniel and the way he protects Jocelyn and Jimmy. He also frustrated me sometimes with his many secrets and his doubts. When I read the previous book, A duke for Diana, I knew I was going to love Eliza, even more than Diana. She is resilient and brave, and the way she handles the truth BY the end of the book is admirable. Her heart is pure gold and I enjoy their time together a lot.
As always, Sabrina’s writing is flawless and page turner. The characters are well developed and the dialogs smart and witty. There are sweet and passionate sexy times and a few aghast moments.
I need Verity’s book ASAP! LOL
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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A great new release by one if my favorite historical romance authors! Just the right amount of tension and desire thwarted by circumstances, and a MMC determined to protect the woman he has always admired and comes to love.
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This was definitely “An Earl for Eliza” because absolutely nothing happened in the ballroom?! It was however a very joyful romance with understated comedy sprinkled throughout. I love when I smile and giggle unexpectedly! The twists were foreshadowed so heavily they could be seen from space, but that didn’t take away any enjoyment from me. I really loved Eliza and diving back into this world with such wonderful sister relationships. I also love two level-headed mature MCs. Even though I’m not big on grand gestures since I usually find them performative, I quite appreciated the effort made here since the grovel was spectacular. 

What I would have preferred a bit more than instalust, was a second chance romance with the one that got away. I wanted to feel some pining?? That way a deeper connection could have been established since I didn’t fully grasp how well the MCs knew each other before their reunion. I would have also liked a bit less talky-talk about the dead deadbeat husband, especially during intimate moments. 

Thank you to the publisher for the advance reader copy via NetGalley. All thoughts are my own.
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Shunned by Society due to parental misbehavior, Diana, Eliza, and Verity Harper establish Elegant Occasions.  The ladies organize social events and assist debutantes have a successful launch into Society.   Eliza is a war widow.  Elegant Occasions gives her a chance for independence and financial security.  Nathaniel Stanton, Lord Foxstead, her husband’s best friend brings an officer’s young widow to Elegant Occasions for help with her entry into Society.  An old attraction between Nathaniel and Eliza comes to the surface.  Will they act on their feelings?  Is it possible there is a future for them?  There are questions about Jocelyn and her son, Eliza’s late husband, and Nathaniel, secrets and scandals to share, a little bickering, some snarky banter, and a happy ending or two.  An enjoyable story with likeable characters.  I look forward to Verity’s story.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley and am voluntarily reviewing it.
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The ladies of Elegant Occasions are back and continuing to make a splash on the London social season!

This time around widow Eliza, usually the organized mild-mannered one is taking centre stage, as she falls for her deceased husband’s best friend as they introduce his young ward into society.

Lord Foxstead has always been attracted to Eliza, but as his friends intended, and then wife, and now widow, she’s been off-limits. And now since he needs her help to find a husband for his ward, he can’t risk alienating her with his attentions, but he also can’t resist her either! 

I love how fast this romance started. As the second book in the series, we’ve already been introduced to the main characters, the three sisters running Elegant Occasions, so without retelling their background we jump right into the story with our new characters Lord Foxstead and this ward as they try to find her a husband while keeping their secrets to themselves. The tension and attraction between Eliza and Lord Foxstead happens immediately and we get quick results. Sabrina Jeffries doesn’t waste time bringing these two together and I loved it!

The main crisis in story revolves around secrets, which at the beginning I thought I had figured out, but I was pleased to find out there is another layer to these entanglements that is only unravelled in the end. 

Having read the first book, I really enjoyed getting to see Diana and her husband after their marriage and seeing how their relationship has progressed and I  am excited by the hints on what to expect with Verity’s book next!

This is a fun romance and easy to jump into even if you haven’t read the first book. 

Thanks to Kensington Publishing in NetGalley for my review copy. Opinions are my own.
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The character of Eliza wasn't as likeable as I hoped for a widowed love interest - her nosiness and jealousy were less than endearing, which wasn't redeemed by the absence of a terrible husband.
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This is a wonderful story and I enjoyed every page of it, but then I’ve never read one of Sabrina Jeffries books that I haven’t loved!  Nathaniel and Eliza are a delightful couple with lots of chemistry entertaining banter. But poor Nathaniel had so many secrets he held, with good intentions , of course, to protect those he loved , that it nearly cost him his whole future! Secrets cause distrust, and that’s never good in a relationship.
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