cover image A Matter of Class

A Matter of Class

Mary Balogh, . . Perseus/Vanguard, $15.95 (208pp) ISBN 978-1-59315-554-4

Ah, the arranged marriage. Can even the bestselling Balogh (Seducing an Angel ) find anything fresh in this staple of historical romance? The answer, as demonstrated in this breezy tale, is yes. Reginald Mason is a dashing young rake whose spendthrift habits so outrage his wealthy coal-merchant father that Reggie is given an ultimatum: he must marry whomever his parents choose or lose his inheritance. He's soon matched with Annabelle Ashton, daughter of an earl whose property adjoins the Masons' land. Annabelle has not only ruined a proposed marriage to a loathsome marquis but put herself outside polite society by attempting to run off with a coachman. It's the perfect match: the earl needs his daughter to marry into money, and Reggie's father longs for acceptance in high society. The young couple, naturally, resent both one another and their fathers, but the author has a surprise in store for both the reader and the scheming parents. Balogh's in fine form, stripping the story to its core to give readers a fast-moving and winning romance. (Jan.)