The Ideal Wife
This time out, I have Mary Balogh's The Ideal Wife (Dell). This one was originally released back in 1991, but for those of us who hadn't yet discovered her, now you can get your hands on this one again. Miles Ripley, the very eligible Earl of Severn wants very much to avoid his mother's and sisters's matchmaking efforts when they arrive soon, but he has no bridal prospects in mind, nor does he really want any. Abigail Gardiner is about to be jobless and homeless, so she calls upon her very distant relation, the Earl of Severn, to ask for a recommendation for another position. Miles instead proposes to her. Abby appears to be just the sort of woman he'd told his friend he'd marry in a trice if only he could find her, biddable and quiet. Ha! Nevertheless, Miles and Abby are married, and just in the nick of time to save Miles from his female relations' romantic meddling. But Abby is neither quiet nor biddable, a fact that Miles truly finds he doesn't mind at all. She has relations of her own that she's trying to assist--a brother intent on paying off their late father's debts, and two younger half-sisters who're currently living with a relative of their mother's--and Miles is happy to help her. But someone Abby had thought dead turns up, and she's got no qualms about blackmailing Abby into helping her as well, above and beyond what Abby is able to assist. This one is more sweet than some of her more recent historical romances, but funny and touching as well. Abby's secret isn't too difficult to guess, given the time period, though Miles's reaction to its possible public knowledge does seem a tad easy-going. Nonetheless, I quite enjoyed this one. It's earned three and a half of Cupid's five arrows. Now if only we didn't have to wait so long for her next new romance....
Until next time, happy reading!
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