by Cathy Maxwell

August 1999
ISBN: 0-380-80831-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Cathy Maxwell's Married In Haste is an average read - there are better Cathy Maxwell books out there so it's not necessarily the author that is disappointing but in how she tells this particular story and the strength (or the lack of it) of the characters.

Tess is known as the "Ice Maiden" as she regularly refused marriage offers. She wants to have a marriage that has "something more". Brenn, on the other hand, is eager for marriage and is in London for one purpose only - to find a wife. Love at first sight happens to Tess in a ball while Brenn claims it was only lust that attracted him to her.

Tess could have been an admirable heroine. She's funny, independent and intelligent. But since the crux of the book was centered on them keeping a "big" secret from one another, Tess, for the better part of the book, was a nervous and paranoid woman, constantly fearing that Brenn has found out her "secret". Brenn, simply put, is a jerk. Admittedly, at first, he seemed to be an admirable hero proposing to Tess to save her from a certain social ruin. But since he also has a secret himself, he kept seducing Tess to soften her, so to speak, in the expectation that his sexual prowess would bring about her forgiveness in the future. Since the reader already knows what the characters' secrets were, the revelation scene between them was anti-climactic and disappointing. Moreover, Brenn acted in a very un-hero like manner; he had insulted Tess in the worst way and when Tess had come up with a solution to his problem, he went back to seducing her again.

As mentioned, about two-thirds of the book was centered on them keeping secrets from one another. The interesting part that deserved more effort was the last third, when Tess was doing some growing up to finally become a worthy heroine. Unfortunately, Maxwell had only given us a cursory glance of Tess' character development in montage-like events that was difficult to appreciate. Brenn, at least, consistently remained a jerk until the end.

Some parts were enjoyable, however, particularly the beginning chapter where there was an entertaining scene that involved debutantes in a fit of feminist revolution in the retiring room. Unfortunately, there were not enough of these scenes in Married In Haste to compensate for the lackluster romance between Tess and Brenn.

Reviewed in July 2001 by Veronica.

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