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Candice Hern

Autor de A Proper Companion

24+ Obras 1,621 Miembros 52 Reseñas 6 Preferidas

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Obras de Candice Hern

Obras relacionadas

It Happened One Night [Anthology 4-in-1] (2008) — Contribuidor — 366 copias
It Happened One Season (2011) — Contribuidor — 256 copias
The Mammoth Book of Regency Romance [Anthology 23-in-1] (2010) — Contribuidor — 100 copias


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San Francisco, California, USA
University of California
marketing executive



This had all the elements I love: plain spinster secretly in love with the hero, forced into a marriage he doesn’t want, and uncertain if he will ever love her. While I did enjoy those elements, there just wasn’t enough true angst for my tastes - it was more just mild insecurities and awkwardness and uncertainty. I still enjoyed it, although I did roll my eyes at the notion that reform and improved working conditions in factories came from benevolent masters and not decades of union struggle.… (más)
Rhiannon.Mistwalker | otra reseña | Aug 19, 2022 |
Jack Raeburn, Marquess of Pemerton, is eyeing the eligible ladies at a society ball one evening when a little imp of a woman sidles up beside him and offers her opinion of his potential matches. Jack is amused by the woman's cheerfully frank remarks, with which he finds himself agreeing. She (re-)introduces herself to him: Lady Mary Haviland, daughter of the late Earl of Assheton; they had been formally introduced at the wedding of Lord and Lady Bradleigh (Lord Bradleigh being a chum of Jack's, and the new Lady Bradleigh being a friend of Mary's). Mary has cultivated a somewhat eccentric reputation among Society; she quite happily admits to being old, plain, and happily on the shelf, and thus, is interested in making lots of friends, no matter how 'proper' this behavior is considered by the ton. When Jack confirms that he is, indeed, in the market for a wife, Mary announces that she'll be happy to play matchmaker for him - he may have the title, but he also has a horrible reputation, and she has the connections in Society to overcome this social handicap.

Mary's friend Olivia is horrified at this newest pal. She's never really approved of any of Mary's unorthodox friends, but senses something especially dangerous about the practiced whiles of Jack Raeburn. Mary dismisses her friend's worries and sets about compiling lists of eligible debutantes, hoping to steer her newest friend into the path of happiness that her dear friend Emily, Lady Bradleigh, is now walking.

Mary has no compunction about herself or her reputation as an oddball. She was horribly abused as a child (something that she hides very well behind her relentlessly cheerful mask), and is especially vulnerable about it, but she doesn't kid herself that she's really a diamond of the first water - or that there's anything wrong with being a spinster. She inherited all of her mother's wealth and thus, can live independently, and she sets about forging an adulthood that more than makes up for her childhood, spent isolated and alone with only her father, who tormented her for having the gall to live while her mother died in childhood.

Needless to say, the Earl of Assheton was not a nice guy, and this was known, albeit obliquely, in Society circles.

As for Jack, well - he was a younger son of a marquess who came into the title after a horrible accent that took the lives of his father, his two older brothers, and his young nephew. He didn't want the title, but he assumes the responsibility - only to learn that his has six estates mortgaged to the hilt and is desperate need of funds. His only true qualification in a potential bride is that she be very, very wealthy. He is far too proud to admit this to anyone, however, as he doesn't want to be labeled a fortune hunter.

He's pleased to have Mary's help as he searches for a suitable wife. She is quite refreshing, and the first female friend Jack has ever had. He feels like he can be himself around her, both the practiced libertine - she laughs uproariously at every flirtation he throws her way - and the regular man he is underneath the façade. He doesn't tell her about his desperate need for money, but when he finds out that she is incredibly wealthy, he decides to seduce HER into a marriage that will save his family.

After all, she is - by her own admission - old, plain, and firmly on the shelf. How could she possibly resist the full force of his charm and seduction? She should be flattered that he'd propose to her, because its not like she's got suitors knocking down her doors.

Oh, how much I loathed Jack for this. Various friends and family members warn him that her father was not quite right, but he dismisses their talk as mere chitchat/gossip. Mary is such a strong, confident, sunny woman, how could she ever have possibly suffered in her life? 🙄 He, of course, knows suffering: he was jilted by his first love, thrown over mere days before his wedding for an earl. That woman was a fortune hunter, and of course that colored his ideas of such types and drove him into his dissolute lifestyle of alcohol, gambling, and women.

So Jack sets about convincing Mary that he wants to marry her, of course not mentioning the real reason why he's suddenly set his sights on her. Mary is skeptical, tries to make a case that she isn't the right woman for him, being old and plain and...."not innocent." She tells him of a foiled elopement from her teens, which Jack takes to forever be what everyone's hinting at when they talk about her fragility. He plows across all of her objections, demonstrates his physical desire for her, and she eventually relents and agrees to marry him.

Jack is delighted and super smug about managing to pull off such a coup, without Mary ever knowing the real reason why he wants to marry her.

They go on to visit his primary estate in Devon, meet his mother, sisters-in-law, and nieces, and the prepare for the wedding. Everyone adores Mary, and she adores them, finally having a family to call her own. There are some exquisitely touching scenes at Pemerton Manor between Jack and one of his traumatized nieces, and between Mary and Jack's mother. They are written so well, and pack such an emotional punch, that I found myself wiping away tears.

Then, of course, then inevitable happens: Mary learns of Jack's original motives for marrying her, and she bolts the day before their wedding, feeling stunned, betrayed, and more than a little foolish. Her father's words come back to haunt her all over again, and she's absolutely crushed.

When Jack learns that she's run away, he's furious - how could she do this to him?! How could it happen again, after the first love?! I wanted to reach through the book and throttle him, honestly. I mean, how fucking selfish can you get?! The whole time of their engagement, I was thinking of a line from Designing Women, when Mary Jo's ex-husband, Ted, comes sniffing around for a reconciliation. "When I hear you talk about us, all I hear is what I can do for you." That's ALL that Jack thinks about: what Mary can do for him, what her money can do for his estates, how she brings happiness and light everywhere she goes.

Well, Jack, WTF do you have to offer her? Nothing but your own selfishness. He doesn't bother to learn anything about Mary beyond the surface she presents to the world: the hardened outer shell she's developed as an abuse survivor. Everyone else in his life has seen beyond this façade, except for him. And in the moment of her leaving, when literally everyone else in his family and among his friends is concerned about what could've possibly happened to make her suddenly turn tail and leave, he's indulging in a gigantic pity party. UGH.

It was nice to see his friends and family call him to task for this idiotic behavior, but of course he also runs away, back to London to indulge in all his vices, bedding a different woman every night in order to erase Mary's memory. He claims that he loves her, but I never saw it on the page. He finally goes after her, six weeks later, and of course wins her back with a Grand Romantic Gesture, but it was definitely a case of too little, too late for me. Mary deserved so much more than Jack could offer her; its a pity she settled for him.

But for the awfulness that was the "hero," I enjoyed reading this book. The writer has a deft touch with characters (there was a secondary romance between Mary's companion, Olivia, and Jack's uncle Edward which was quite touching and sweet). I really liked Mary and the way she had forged a life for herself, on her own terms. As I mentioned before, there are some beautifully written emotional passages at Pemerton Manor that tugged at my heartstrings. I'm curious about the other books in this trio - Lord Bradleigh, the hero of the first novel, and Lord Sedgewick, the hero of the third. I'll definitely seek out their stories, and hope that they are more worthy of their wives than Jack is.
… (más)
eurohackie | otra reseña | May 26, 2021 |
Quick read. Usual historical romance, notorious rake and virtuous woman with lots of miscommunication. John wagers a bet with another scoundrel for his famous race horse if he can bed the famous Bishop's prim widow in 3 months’ time. Needless to say, they despise each other in the beginning but slowly start falling in love during the "getting to know you" phase of his wooing the widow.
Kathy89 | 5 reseñas más. | Oct 18, 2020 |
mary23nm | Feb 27, 2019 |


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