Thursday, January 12, 2012

Review: The Unexpected Wife by Emily Hendrickson (4 stars, traditional)

Full Description: Amazon

Rating: 4 out of 5

Thoughts After Reading:

The best aspect of regency romances (in my opinion) is how much fun the storyline can be, set in a time and place far removed from my own. And Hendrickson lives up to my hopes, at least partially, in her gentle traditional regency The Unexpected Wife. The heroine, a young lady without a mother and a missing father, is being pressured by her somewhat unsavory brother to marry one of his somewhat unsavory friends. The heroine plans a fairly reasonable escape to avoid the wedding, although she doesn't have any particular destination in mind. By chance, she stumbles upon a country house that is unlikely to be visited by its owner (the hero, a viscount) and decides to pretends to be the viscount's wife in the small community.  She begins to tend to the house and host events, using her own money.  After a time, the hero moves out to the country home in order to escape a determined marriageable miss. He is rather taken by the heroine, and helps perpetuate her deception although he realizes it might end in a real marriage. The couple settle into a companionship as co-conspirators, with feelings deepening on both sides. Unfortunately, all of this happens in the first half of the book and the story seems to slow down a bit after that. The hero and heroine continue to perpetrate the charade as suspicious visitor after suspicious visitor stops by (the heroine's brother and friend, the girl who was pursuing the hero, the hero's grandmother, and finally the heroine's father). At some point, it stops being cute and you just want them to get on with it. The plot eventually becomes a is-it-duty-or-love question of the hero's actions, and after some softly romantic gestures by the hero they admit their feelings to each other.

Overall, I thought the premise was well implemented and that the story, while not flawless, served nicely as a traditional regency.

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