cover image The Ideal Wife

The Ideal Wife

Mary Balogh. Severn House Publishers, $18.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7278-4239-8

Miles Ripley, the young, dashing and wealthy earl of Severn, is tired of scheming women (namely his mother and sister) trying to marry him off. Just as he vows to marry a quiet, undemanding woman, the plucky, irrepressible Abigail Gardiner--a destitute, distant relative--comes seeking a recommendation from him; having been abruptly dismissed for impertinence from her position as a lady's companion, she presents herself as thoroughly subservient. The earl, seeing the answer to his problems, offers marriage instead of a reference. The couple spends an idyllic three days as newlyweds, although Miles is bemused to realize he knows very little about his wife. Trouble comes with the arrival of relatives, and Abigail's mysterious past threatens to shatter their promising beginning. Although she employs all the cliches of the genre, veteran romance writer Balogh ( A Masked Deception ) tells a good story, filled with likable characters. (Nov.)