cover image Married to a Perfect Stranger

Married to a Perfect Stranger

Jane Ashford. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-1-4926-0190-6

Ashford (The Headstrong Ward) once again provides the perfect blend of interesting, emotionally complex, and open-hearted protagonists, supported by their sparklingly witty social allies and vexed by bumbling, blustering political enemies, as they make their way through the complex world of 1816 London’s high society. John Bexley, having been called to an awkward two-year government mission in China immediately after his honeymoon, comes home to find his shy wife, Mary, transformed into a “managing female”—and she is just as displeased to find that he has become difficult and secretive. But as Mary makes fortunate social connections and begins to value her own skills as a preternaturally insightful portrait artist, and as John slowly yields more information about his clandestine work, their relationship opens up into mutual admiration, support, and delight. In a story of personal growth and excited rediscovery, both characters must overcome scorn and opposition from their family and colleagues in order to come into themselves, appreciate each other, and turn a naïvely arranged marriage into a passionate partnership. A preteen boy and a misbehaving monkey add mischief and merriment to this marvelous novel. Agent: Jennifer Weltz, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. (Mar.)