Victoria Alexander, Author . Avon $6.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-000145-2

The author of several post-Regency-era romances, Alexander (Her Highness, My Wife, etc.) once again delivers snappy dialogue and droll situations but fails to lay a solid foundation in her latest. One morning Gwendolyn Townsend receives three surprises: she learns that her father did not leave her penniless upon his death, as she had thought; that she has three orphaned nieces who need her support; and that her father arranged her marriage to his friend's son, Marcus, the Earl of Pennington. Marcus is equally astonished to learn that if he doesn't marry Gwen, he will lose his fortune. What begins as a marriage of convenience soon blooms into a love match, and life seems perfect—except that Gwen, afraid that Marcus thinks girls are useless (as her father did), still hasn't told him about the existence of her nieces. Instead of allowing Gwen to grow by confessing her secret and, later, by trusting her husband when another crisis occurs, Alexander ends her tale with a heroine who chooses the wrong path and seems likely to continue doing so. Ironically, the epigraphs that begin each chapter focus on the foibles of men, but Marcus is indeed a proper husband, demonstrating loyalty, trust and understanding. Gwen, however, falls short as a wife and as the heroine of this middling tale. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/10/2003
Release date: 03/01/2003
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