cover image The Last Bachelor

The Last Bachelor

Betina Krahn. Fanfare, $6.5 (528pp) ISBN 978-0-553-56522-5

In 1882 London, a wealthy young widow, Lady Antonia Paxton, makes it her goal to marry off less fortunate widows-by catching them in flagrante delicto with eligible men. Her infamous exploits earn her a run-in with Remington Carr, the earl of Landon and a man who believes women should work, vote and not be dependent on any man-especially him. Their opposing viewpoints make collision inevitable and the two end up in a much-publicized wager involving role reversal. Thinking to take revenge on their matchmaker, Antonia's victims also hope the attractive, perpetually single Remington will seduce ``the Dragon of Decency.'' Passion, understanding and respect gradually bring these antagonists to new insights. Although the tale is decidedly sensual, the emphasis is more on the complexities of gender than the complications of sex. Krahn (The Princess and the Barbarian) has a delightful, smart touch and even on the odd occasion that the narrative turns a bit schmaltzy (as in the concluding paeans to marriage), she is sure to keep readers happily engrossed in her protagonists' struggles to discover what makes a man, a woman and a marriage. (Sept.)