by Jane Feather

February 2004
ISBN: 0-553-586181-1
Reviewer Graphic Button Bantam Books
Mass Market Paperback

Meet the Duncan sisters – Constance, Prudence and Chastity – a lovely trio of forward-thinking ladies, educated, well-read, and devoted to their causes. First and foremost, they are determined to keep the creditors from pounding at their door because of the unlucky investments made by their father. In order to keep him in his wine and cigars, the sisters publish The Mayfair Lady – a society newspaper- and eat leftovers while he dines at the club. Originally started by their late mother, they have turned the discussions of fashions and soirees into something more. They keep the ladies of the ton abreast of political and social causes that their husbands would rather cover up.

When the Prime Minister decides that “something” should be done about the suffrage movement, the newly-elected MP from Southwold, Max Ensor, offers to investigate. Little does he know that he will meet his match in Constance Duncan.

As the sisters decide to expand their livelihood to include a matchmaking service, Max enters their sights, blissfully unaware that they have designs on him. When he makes insufferable comments regarding the inability of women to manage their own affairs, Constance attacks with a sharpened quill. She challenges every notion he has of acceptable feminine behavior and encourages him to see past his own opinions. Soon he is attending a meeting of the Women’s Social and Political Union and consorting with a number of known suffragettes.

While The Bachelor List may not be the best title for this engaging story, the novel is a delight. Jane Feather has created a trio of strong, intelligent women who are appealing from the first page to the last. Constance is sharp-witted and determined to make Max see that his ideal vision of womanhood is far removed from the realities of life. Max starts out as such a stick, yet warms nicely to Constance despite her argumentative nature. The sparks between them fly both verbally and emotionally, as they discover that divergent politics can make their attraction even stronger.

I am eagerly awaiting Prudence and Chastity’s stories, set to be released in the next two months. For once, the publisher has decided not to torture us with a protracted schedule that often requires re-reading of earlier books in order to remember the characters. As a reader, I am grateful. So pick up The Bachelor List with the confidence of knowing that the rest of the trilogy will soon follow – I think you will enjoy it.

Reviewed in January 2004 by Paula.

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