by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

April 2003
ISBN: 0-06-018570-8
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Lady Adriana Sutton was jilted. Her betrothed, Colton Wyndham, was her childhood hero, but instead of settling down with the wife his father had chosen for him, Colton left to join the British army declaring heíd never marry a woman not of his own choosing. Adriana was heartbroken. Colton was her best friendís brother, and both girls adored him. When he left, Adriana stayed close to his family but secretly wishes heíd come back and change his mind.

Now, years later, Colton is back. Scarred by the war, he intends to live his own life. His fatherís last wish, that he marry Lady Adriana, still rankles though. That is, it rankles until he sees her! In ten years, Lady Adriana has grown from spindly child to a ravishing woman. Every male in the country covets her. But Adriana is a pure product of her times. Docile, well-bred, and romantic, she still nurses dreams of her childhood hero, Colton. When they see each other for the first time, their hearts instinctively know that they are meant for each other. But Coltonís stubborn streak wonít let him admit he was wrong. To save his pride, Adriana makes a deal. He can court her for ninety days. If, at the end of that time, he still doesnít want her, then she will declare the marriage agreement null. Adriana has ninety days to prove to Colton that she is the woman for him. It seems an easy task, but alas-Coltonís past will come back to haunt him. A rival will stoop to anything to steal Adriana away from him, and a secret will nearly destroy them.

Kathleen Woodiwiss has always been one of my favorite authors, and this book shows her skill in story weaving to its best. Set in the early 1800ís, this novel fully captures the spirit of the times. Each character is believable, and though the book starts out slowly, it follows the rigid, formal protocol of the times based on a proper introduction and intricate rules of etiquette. This novel is a gem of a regency romance that still manages to keep a dash of tongue-in-cheek to spice it up. Never taking herself too seriously, yet delighting in careful research and details, Ms. Woodiwiss has outdone herself this time. I thoroughly enjoyed the setting and characters. The subtle humor delighted me, and I savored each page of this well-written, entertaining book. If you like regency romances, you will adore The Reluctant Suitor. Donít hesitate to get this book; if you adore stories of true love and adventure, this tale is for you!

Reviewed in May 2003 by Jennifer.

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