The Troublemaker, etc.) breathes life into the rigid Regency-e"/>

THE BRIDEMAKER

Rexanne Becnel, Author . St. Martin's $6.50 (344p) ISBN 978-0-312-98311-6

With this sparkling romance between a highly regarded widow and a thoroughly charming rake, Becnel (The Troublemaker, etc.) breathes life into the rigid Regency-era romance genre. Hester Poitevant, mistress of the popular Mayfair Academy, has developed a reputation for transforming shy, awkward girls into good marriage material. Known as the Bridemaker, she hides behind her widow's weeds and ugly spectacles in order to appear respectable without outshining her students and their paying mamas. The disguise also ensures that no man will look twice at her and threaten her hard-earned independence. But when her favorite student sets her sights on Adrian Hawke, a rich but untitled American, Hester confronts the unconventional rogue and, to her horror, begins to fall for him. Though Adrian is initially put off by Hester's standoffish demeanor, he senses the feisty widow is concealing more than just a fine body, and he's willing to use whatever means necessary, even seduction, to uncover her secrets. The protagonists' ideals are at times too modern for the period, but Hester's spirited personality and Adrian's devil-may-care attitude will appeal to a broad readership. Playful in tone and rich in character, this book is fun, breezy entertainment. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/07/2002
Release date: 11/01/2002
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