cover image Blackthorne’s Bride

Blackthorne’s Bride

Shana Galen, . . Avon, $5.99 (369pp) ISBN 978-0-06-112497-6

Merry romps and derring-do feature prominently in Galen’s latest Misadventures in Matrimony series entry (after Good Groom Hunting ). Lady Madeleine Castleigh, rescuer of lonely orphans, destitute widows and abused animals, has tired of suitors interested only in controlling her (and her considerable dowry), so she decides to elope with a boring do-gooder who won’t stand in the way of her charitable pursuits. Fate intervenes in the form of handsome, brooding Jack Martingale, marquess of Blackthorne, who commandeers Maddie’s coach on the way to the wedding. Jack and his irrepressible brother, Nick, are fleeing the wrath of the notorious duke of Bleven, and Maddie, along with her cousin Ashley, is unwittingly drawn into their madcap adventure. Pursued also by an innkeeper with a grudge and Ashley’s irate father, the scramble to outrun Bleven’s henchmen draws Maddie and Jack together; when they finally make it to the wedding, a mishap involving a drunken priest ensures the odd pair will be spending a lot more time together. Eventually, both passion and tragic secrets are revealed, as Galen’s spirited characters, lively dialogue, breakneck pace and great sense of fun propel this smart-if-standard Regency toward a happy conclusion. (Nov.)