Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Husband List - Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly (St. Martins - Jan 2013)

From The New York Times bestselling writing duo Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly, comes the story of a young woman’s search for true love. Caroline Maxwell would like nothing more than to join her brother, Eddie, and his friend, Jack Culhane, on their adventures. While Jack and Eddie are off seeing the world, buying up businesses and building wildly successful careers, Caroline's stuck at home frightening off the men her mother hopes will ask for her hand in marriage. When her mother sets her sights on the questionable Lord Bremerton as a possible suitor, Caroline struggles with her instincts and the true nature of her heart. She longs for adventure, passion, love, and most of all . . . Jack Culhane, an unconventional Irish-American bachelor with new money and no title. A completely unacceptable suitor in the eyes of Caroline's mother. But Caroline's dark hair, brilliant eyes and quick wit have Jack understanding just why it is people fall in love and get married.

Fun book and not the authors' usual style.  Caroline is an American heiress in 1894.  She is intelligent, determined and outspoken.  She is also stuck with a mother who is determined to marry her off to an English title.  Caroline had evaded that particular fate the previous summer while in England but now there is an Englishman who has made it plain that he wants Caroline - or at least her money - for his own and he will do anything to get it.  Caroline isn't interested; as a matter of fact he gives her the creeps.  What she does want is the chance for travel, for adventure and to marry for love.  She has been in love with Jack, her brother's best friend, for years.  But her mother considers Jack, a first generation Irish-American, to be far beneath what she wants for her daughter.  Jack has always thought of Caroline as his friend's little sister until recently when he started to notice her as a woman.  He knows that her mother doesn't consider him suitable, but Caroline's feelings about Bremerton echo his own.  I loved seeing Caroline use her wits to avoid Bremerton as much as possible.  There are quite a few amusing moments when we see how she goes about it.  She also makes sure that Jack knows how she feels.  I really enjoyed their conversations and seeing how much he appreciates her for who she is.  I loved her directness and how she made Jack promise that he would always be honest with her.  Jack was another fantastic character.  He is rich but has earned his money by his own hard work.  He isn't afraid to work and I enjoyed seeing him do what he does so well.  I thought all the characters were very well portrayed.  Besides Jack and Caroline there is Caroline's mother who I just detested.  She was so focused on Bremerton's title that she refused to listen to anyone else's opinions even when told about the rumors about him.  Caroline's brother was done pretty well, as were her sisters.  I loved Jack's dad and his obvious love for his son.  The addition of Flora, a rather scandalous woman from Patrick's past made a great addition to the cast, especially when Caroline became friends with her.  The setting showed the lifestyles of the people of the time very well.  Bremerton's character was suitably devious and certainly easy to detest.  I really enjoyed the ending, especially seeing that Caroline was able to take some of the matter into her own hands.  While this book was in no way as good as a Stephanie Laurens or Jo Beverley it was a fun book to read.  I'd love to see a book for Caroline's brother Eddie.

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