by Victoria Alexander

April 2003
ISBN: 0-06-009213-0
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

The matrons of high society are worried. They are having a great deal of difficulty persuading their adult children that it is time to get married. The tried-and-true method of parties, balls and other social events are not as successful as they once were. Alarmed by the advancing ages of their single offspring, the ladies take matters into their own hands. Calling themselves The Ladies Society for the Betterment of the Future of Britain, they are about to embark on a campaign of scheming, strategic matchmaking. Thus begins Victoria Alexanderís delightful Love with the Proper Husband.

Their first candidate (victim) is one of the tonís most eligible bachelors, Marcus Holcroft, the Earl of Pennington. Rapidly approaching thirty, he has no matrimonial plans, and has decided that he may never find a woman who will engage both his eye for beauty and his intellect. He is quite content in his bachelorhood. He is dumbfounded to discover that there is a codicil to his fatherís will that has arranged a marriage for him, should he reach his third decade unattached.

Gwen Townsend is also aghast at the notion of an arranged marriage, or any other marriage for that matter. Orphaned and penniless, the young woman has been supporting herself as a governess. She has seen first-hand that marriage is no bargain for women, and has no desire to marry. While she welcomes the news that her father did leave her a house and modest income, she is not swayed by the additional funds that she would gain through the arranged marriage.

This novel is a gem. It sparkles with wit and humor. Each chapter is prefaced with a pithy quote about our favorite subject - men - from one of the characters. I especially enjoyed the antics of Gwenís nieces and other secondary characters. I also hope that Ms. Alexander plans to continue the matronsí matchmaking schemes with a few of the other men in this book. Love with the Proper Husband will appeal not only to Regency romance lovers, but to any reader who appreciates snappy dialog and sharp-witted characters.

Reviewed in April 2003 by Paula.

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