Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Every now and then a book comes along that I know I shouldn't be enjoying, but I just can't help myself.

Married to the Viscount by Sabrina Jeffries takes place in what I call the post-Regency period (that period when George III is dead and the Regent becomes King George IV) and features the always amusing "marriage of convenience" theme.

The American heroine travels to England to meet up with her viscount husband that she married by proxy. Turns out though that the viscount had no clue he was married, and the whole marriage was some sort of scheme cooked up by his younger brother. Worse still? This younger brother made off with the heroine's dowry and she is penniless. Hoping to avoid scandal (the hero is in politics), he proposes a "pretend" marriage until his erstwhile (and missing) brother can be found to straighten out this mess. The trick? Keeping his hormones in check.

So why shouldn't I be liking this book? Well for one thing the hero has this annoying habit of being a jerk and is continually saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. Instead of telling him to go to hell, the heroine continually strives to find ways to win his affection.

This is the sort of behavior that would normally infuriate me - but Jeffries is a grand writer and spins a good yarn. On an entertainment level it's as close to gold as one can get. The heroine's "naive American optimism" makes for some interesting moments when she is confronted with "oh so proper English society" and the secondary characters are all nice additions.

And while the hero has descended into jerkdom a couple of times - there's already been one very nice "groveling" scene. I love it when romance heroes grovel - and I selfishly hope there are more.

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