by Victoria Alexander

June 2004
ISBN: 0-06-051762-X
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

I must admit that I was very eager to read this book. After The Lady In Question, I was dying to find what would happen to Cassandra Effington now that her twin sister Delia was happily married. Author Victoria Alexander has delivered the answer to all of my questions, gaily wrapped in a most delightful package!

The Pursuit of Marriage is a wildly entertaining traditional Regency romance. By traditional, I mean that the “meat” of the story lies in the characters, not the plot. In this book, readers will come to know and love the characters through some of the best dialogue I have read in a very long time. There are no undercover spies lurking in the shadows, no evil deeds afoot. Instead what you get is a witty discourse about impressions, reputations, and how what you think you want is often very different than what your heart desires.

Cassie Effington is an eccentric. She is outspoken, plain speaking and is in the midst of pursuing a career. Unheard of, you say! Well, she has discovered that her innate good taste and artistic sense of style has carved a niche as a very expensive, exclusive interior designer for the Ton. She doesn’t need to work of course, and hasn’t decided what to do with her earnings, but she loves to renovate rooms. Her activities are a welcome distraction from her worrisome single state. She wants to marry but her ideal groom has not appeared on the horizon and she has no desire to reform one of the rakes who prowl through the ballrooms, looking for their next conquest. Why on earth would you want to marry someone if you immediately planned to change him?

Viscount Reginald Berkley has finished with love. After several disastrous episodes where the heart he had on his sleeve was thoroughly trampled, he has decided to become a rogue. With the help of his best friend, he has concocted a series of events designed to give him an infamous reputation. Just when he is set to pounce on the current crop of debutantes, his mother takes to her bed. Ever the dutiful son, he agrees to do whatever he can to make her feel better. Who in the world would have thought that redecorating a few rooms would make a difference?

Cassie and Reggie are on a collision course, to be sure. The events that transpire are wickedly funny as the two “friends” decide to find each other’s ideal mate. When Miss Wonderful and Lord Perfect arrive on scene, the rest of the ton sit back to watch the sparks fly!

I have enjoyed this book much more than it’s predecessor, simply because it is so straightforward. There have been a plethora of secret identities in recent historical romances, and this is a most refreshing change. Ms. Alexander has steadily honed her craft to it’s present fine form. I sincerely hope that this is not the last we have seen of the intriguing Effingtons and their cadre of friends.

Reviewed in May 2004 by Paula.

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