by Shannon Donnelly

May 2003
ISBN: 0-8217-7410-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

Theodore Winslow has thought of the perfect way to get his older brother Terrance reinstated into the family. All Theo has to do is make their father so angry that Theo will be disowned, which will require that Squire Winslow will forgive his oldest son. Theo believes that his plan will work perfectly, as long as he can find one thing - a coarse-mannered, lady of the evening to pose as his intended bride. For assistance he goes to Sallie Ellis, one of the Covent Garden madames, in hopes of securing a “lady” for a few days in the country. It shouldn’t take too long to make his father see red!

Molly Sweet is not a Cyprian, but Sallie’s cook. But she also has a dream - her own pub - and agrees to pose as Theo’s intended bride for the money he has promised to pay. Theo has no idea that she is not a fallen woman, though, and that is just the beginning of this charming story.

A Proper Mistress, while a quick read, is extremely entertaining. Theo and Molly are very endearing characters, with charm and humor. Ms. Donnelly has shown a flair for inserting humor into her stories, and this one is no exception. Theo is a handsome rascal, with a slightly over-blown opinion of his ne’er-do-well brother. Molly has had a rough life, but she has not allowed it to make her cynical. She still sees the good in people, and her sunny nature is soon evident.

I have found A Proper Mistress to be the best book that I have read from the Zebra Regency Romance Series to date. It was a fully-developed story, with all the elements of a larger book, neatly encapsulated for the series format. I think other Regency readers will agree that now may be the time for Ms. Donnelly to consider writing a longer novel.

Reviewed in August 2003 by Paula.

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