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Love with the Proper Husband (Effington Family & Friends Series)

Love with the Proper Husband (Effington Family & Friends Series)

3.7 22
by Victoria Alexander

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Distressed over the current widespread disinterest inmatrimony among their eminently marriageable offspring, the formidable matriarchs of the ton have taken matters into their own meddling hands with the formation of The Ladies' Society for the Betterment of the Future of Britain. Their first challenge: the Earl of Pennington.

Miss Gwendolyn Townsend has seen


Distressed over the current widespread disinterest inmatrimony among their eminently marriageable offspring, the formidable matriarchs of the ton have taken matters into their own meddling hands with the formation of The Ladies' Society for the Betterment of the Future of Britain. Their first challenge: the Earl of Pennington.

Miss Gwendolyn Townsend has seen her late father's estate go to a distant cousin she can't abide ... leaving her well-educated, able to make a perfect curtsy — and penniless. So imagine her shock when it's discovered that a match had been arranged between herself and Marcus Holcroft, the Earl of Pennington — one of the most eligible members of London society. Marcus constantly leaves her breathless and confused ... and though she's hesitant to marry a man she's just met, in the end she has no choice. But she makes some conditions first ...

Marcus cannot believe that the bride who has been foisted upon him is insisting on rules to their wedding ... and bedding! He's a man who has never had to tempt any woman into his arms. But even more surprising is that Gwendolyn is clearly hiding something — and it shocks him to think that their exquisite kisses — followed by his lessons in passionate lovemaking — wouldn't be enough to make his wife tell him her every secret. After all, he's promised to be a proper husband — isn’t it fair to also expect a proper wife?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The author of several post-Regency-era romances, Alexander (Her Highness, My Wife, etc.) once again delivers snappy dialogue and droll situations but fails to lay a solid foundation in her latest. One morning Gwendolyn Townsend receives three surprises: she learns that her father did not leave her penniless upon his death, as she had thought; that she has three orphaned nieces who need her support; and that her father arranged her marriage to his friend's son, Marcus, the Earl of Pennington. Marcus is equally astonished to learn that if he doesn't marry Gwen, he will lose his fortune. What begins as a marriage of convenience soon blooms into a love match, and life seems perfect-except that Gwen, afraid that Marcus thinks girls are useless (as her father did), still hasn't told him about the existence of her nieces. Instead of allowing Gwen to grow by confessing her secret and, later, by trusting her husband when another crisis occurs, Alexander ends her tale with a heroine who chooses the wrong path and seems likely to continue doing so. Ironically, the epigraphs that begin each chapter focus on the foibles of men, but Marcus is indeed a proper husband, demonstrating loyalty, trust and understanding. Gwen, however, falls short as a wife and as the heroine of this middling tale. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Effington Family & Friends Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.54(w) x 11.06(h) x 1.03(d)

Read an Excerpt

Love With the Proper Husband

Chapter One

Men are untrustworthy, disloyal swine who
care for nothing save their own pleasures
and the perpetuation of their line.

Gwendolyn Townsend

No good ever came of a summons from a solicitor.

Gwendolyn Townsend stiffened her already ramrod straight posture and ignored the urge to pick at the worn cuff of her pelisse. She was the daughter of a viscount, and regardless of her current circumstances, she would not be intimidated by a mere solicitor. Furthermore, she was not at all pleased to be kept waiting. She ignored as well the fact that, in spite of her lineage, she was nothing more than a governess at the moment and an unsuccessful one at that.

No good ever came of a summons from a solicitor.

It was harder to ignore the long-forgotten warning that had surfaced in her mind with a vengeance and refused to let her be. It had echoed in the back of her thoughts ever since the letter from her late father's man of affairs, Mr. Whiting, had at long last reached her in New York. And why shouldn't it? She'd heard the servants at Madame Chaussan's Academy for Young Ladies say it often enough through most of the first sixteen years of her life, and indeed, hadn't it always proved true?

The last time Gwen had had anything whatsoever to do with a solicitor had been five years ago when Mr. Whiting's nephew, taking up his uncle's business, had informed her she was penniless. She still recalled that moment -- the discomfort of the young man, a scant few years older than she, at his announcement, and the sympathy in his brown eyes. She remembered the look in his eyes as clearly as she remembered his words.

"Miss Townsend, forgive me for keeping you waiting." A gentleman of distinguished appearance stepped into the room and crossed to her chair. Gwen knew his name, but they'd never had occasion to meet before now. He extended his hand, and she accepted it cautiously. "Your appearance is something of a surprise. I did not expect you for several days yet."

"I thought it best to return to England at once."

"Of course." He withdrew his hand and nodded toward the door. "You remember my nephew, Albert?"

Only now did she note the younger man standing by the open door, a decidedly apologetic expression on his face. There was no sympathy in his eyes today but an odd look nonetheless.

"Of course." She smiled politely and waited. If there was one thing, and indeed there might well be only one thing, she had learned through seven positions of employment, it was how to give the appearance of patience.

Mr. Whiting took his place behind his desk and nodded dismissively at his nephew. Albert started toward the door, then abruptly turned back. "Miss Townsend, please accept my most heartfelt apologies."

At once she recognized the look in his eye as guilt.

He stepped closer. "This is entirely my fault, and I cannot tell you how truly horrible I have felt since the error was first discovered. I have been most concerned about your -- "

"That's quite enough, Albert," Whiting said firmly.

Error? Gwen's gaze slid from Albert to his uncle and back.

"What error?" she said slowly.

"It was a mistake." Albert shook his head. "Quite inexcusable, and I shall never forgive -- "


"Albert." Whiting's voice cut through the room.

Albert ignored him. "Miss Townsend, please understand I consider myself at your service from this moment forward. Should you need anything whatsoever, up to and including the benefits that can only be derived from marriage, I should be honored to offer my -- "

"Albert," Whiting snapped. "I will take care of this. I'm certain you have other duties to attend to."

Albert hesitated, then nodded. "Of course, Uncle." He squared his shoulders and met her gaze. "Again, Miss Townsend, my apologies."

He left without another word. Gwen stared after him. A hundred myriad thoughts swirled through her mind, but not one made any sense.

Whiting cleared his throat. "Miss Townsend, I -- "

"What mistake?" Her gaze snapped to his.

Whiting paused as if considering his words. He was distinctly ill-at-ease, and for the first time since her father's death, a glimmer of what might have been hope surfaced within her.

When she'd received Whiting's letter she'd been curious, of course: it was accompanied by an already paid passage back to England. But he'd said nothing more than that there was a matter of importance regarding her family that required her immediate return. She'd been only too glad to bid her employers and their annoying offspring goodbye and had sailed on the first ship home.

"Mr. Whiting?"

She'd assumed Whiting's summons had to do with the signing of papers regarding her father's estate or the transfer of ownership of his property, matters she'd assumed as well had been settled long ago. Still, whatever it was, it was significant enough, in Whiting's eyes, to provide her with a way back to England, and that was all she really cared about.

Now, looking at the solicitor's obvious discomfort, coupled with his nephew's abject apology and strange proposal of marriage, Gwen realized the "matter of importance" was far more significant than she'd imagined.

"Miss Townsend." Whiting folded his hands on the desk in front of him. "My nephew should never have informed you of the state of your finances in the manner in which he did. Nor should he have said anything whatsoever so soon after your father's demise."

Gwen's heart sank.

"It was most thoughtless of him and -- "

"Mr. Whiting, as much as I appreciate ..."

Love With the Proper Husband. Copyright © by Victoria Alexander. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

#1 New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander was an award-winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was more fun than real life. She is the author of thirty-one novels, and her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Victoria lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with her long-suffering husband and two dogs, in a house under endless renovation and never-ending chaos.

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Love with the Proper Husband 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While I agree it dragged on a bit and Gwen really did manage to frustrate me, I did enjoy the book as a whole. Reggie really made the parts that he was in enjoyable and I am looking forward to reading his story. Marcus had a very good base as far as development but something was missing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first good regency I've read in some time. The heroine was well scripted and even though Marcus was not characterized in-depth, the passion between the two was quite evident. The storyline concerning the nieces was a bit off-mark at times but did not really lessen my reading pleasure. Highly recommended if only for the steamy bedroom scenes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I usually love her books, but this one was terrible. I never finished it; yes... that bad. It dragged on and on, without action or excitement. This is one of the worse romance novels I have read. I would recommend 'Her Highness, My Wife' if you like this author. Trust me, 'Love with the Proper Husband' is terrible. I wish I had never bought it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I do like this author, and this story ended up being reasonably enjoyable, but man, did it drag a lot, especially in the beginning. For example, we know the premise, Gwen and Marcus must marry, and there should be a reasonable amount of dialogue to explain all this, but why did the author go on and on and onnnnnn about it? One example was when Marcus and his mother discussed the topic. Way too much dialogue was devoted to the reasons for and against the marriage, which we knew didn't matter in the least! It made me want to skip a few pages. Also, I liked the best friend Reggie more than Marcus. Marcus really didn't have much of a personality; one could certainly tell he was a fictional character. Reggie was much more interesting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Miss Gwendolyn Townsend saw her late father's estate go to a distant cousin. Penniless, she sailed to America for employment as governess. When summoned by her late father's solicitor she returned to England to learn she HAD been left a small income and would not have to seek employment any longer. ............. Marcus Holcroft, the Earl of Pennington, would reach the age of thirty within a few months. The solicitor informed Marcus that he must wed by then or lose his current fortune. Marcus wanted Gwen as his bride but had no clue as how to convince her. She claimed she would never marry! ............ Gwen soon learned that her sister and brother-in-law had died and entrusted the care of their three daughters to her! Gwen never knew she had three nieces (now between the ages of ten and fourteen) or how to care for children. After all, her time as a governess showed her that she did not get along well with children. It did not take long to begin adoring them though. Problem was that her small income would not support them all. It was time to make a bargain with an Earl. ........ ***** THIS ONE IS A SHEER DELIGHT! You won't have any boredom while reading this story. Author Victoria Alexander has written a winner that will create many new fans of her writing skill. Highly recommended reading.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Five years ago, teenager Gwendolyn Townsend learns she has nothing to live on so she flees for America to earn a living as a governess. Perhaps it was the grabbing males, but she quickly realizes she stinks at her job. Her deceased father¿s solicitor Mr. Whiting funds her passage home to inform her she has a small inheritance that she could live on but if she married she would have quite a dowry and that her dead sister left behind three nieces. Marcus Holcroft is broke unless he marries the daughter of his deceased neighbor rather quickly. He offers a marriage of convenience to Gwendolyn, but she rejects it until she meets her unhappy three nieces. Marriage to Marcus will provide her the cash to care for her needy relatives. As Marcus and Gwendolyn become acquainted after they marry they fall in love, but will this duo recognize how lucky they are? Though in many ways, this delightful historical romance is a typical marriage of convenience tale, the three nieces provide depth and an extra spin to the plot. The lead couple is an intrepid charming pair, but the behavior of the unholy threesome make for fine entertainment for sub-genre fans whom read Victoria Alexander¿s latest novel. Harriet Klausner
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is definitely a great read.The main characters are absolutely delightful in how they are with one another,meaning,that they are not used to caring and being cared for.I love Marcus and hope that besides my hubby they are more like him out there.Enjoy!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the first victoria alexander book I've ever read and judging from this book, I don't think I'm ever gonna buy one of her books again. The summary was good but the story itself wasn't really that good. The story, as the other reviewers said, was dragging. I also didn't like the characters in this story. All in all it was a big disappointment for me....