The Pursuit of Marriage

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Overview

What lengths would a young lady go to in her pursuit of the perfect match?

And how far would a gentleman go to stop her?

Cassandra Effington is one of the most delicious debutantes to ever waltz across a London ballroom. But while her identical twin sister Delia is now wed, Cassandra is still unclaimed, and everyone agrees her standards are entirely too high. So how could she possibly lose a most unseemly wager with the handsome, scandalous ...

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Overview

What lengths would a young lady go to in her pursuit of the perfect match?

And how far would a gentleman go to stop her?

Cassandra Effington is one of the most delicious debutantes to ever waltz across a London ballroom. But while her identical twin sister Delia is now wed, Cassandra is still unclaimed, and everyone agrees her standards are entirely too high. So how could she possibly lose a most unseemly wager with the handsome, scandalous Viscount Berkley? The proposition: She will find him an ideal bride well before he finds her the perfect match.

But Lord Berkley intends to be very hard to please. He's already chosen the right woman, and no lady Cassandra puts forward to him will be perfect enough save the luscious Cassandra herself. And he'll do whatever it takes to make certain no gentleman he introduces her to is enticing enough, until she realizes that the perfect object in her pursuit of marriage is none other than the viscount himself.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Still unwed at 24, outspoken Cassie Effington has strict standards for her suitors, and she's well aware that the polished charm of handsome rakes like Lord Berkley often disguises a lack of substance. But when Cassie undertakes the refurbishment of Berkley's townhouse, sparks fly between the two, and Berkley realizes he'll have to prove to her that there's more to him than just his good looks and glib manner. Alexander's newest Regency-era romance (after The Lady in Question) is pleasantly written and brimming with fun screwball elements such as a wager between Berkley and Cassie to find the other's perfect spouse, but it falls short on tension and depth of character. Cassie's fear that a charming rake could lure her into scandal holds her back from trusting Berkley, but why she's bent her life around this fear is never explained persuasively, making her resistance seem more stubborn than sensible. After Cassie dismisses this fear, inevitability descends, leading to a sluggish second half. Rigid in her opinions and unhappy when proven wrong, Cassie can be unsympathetic. Although Berkley declares he wants a bride with spirit, readers will wonder why he's chosen one who is so headstrong and mistrustful. Agent, Meg Ruley. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Oakland Press
“Delightful...a charmingly told tale that illustrates that perfection isn’t all good manners and a beautiful face.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781587247446
  • Publisher: Cengage Gale
  • Publication date: 11/2/2004
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 433
  • Product dimensions: 6.22 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Victoria Alexander was an award-winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was much more fun than real life. She turned to writing full time and has never looked back. Victoria grew up traveling the country as an Air Force brat and is now settled in Omaha, Nebraska, with her husband, two teenaged children, and a bearded collie named Sam. She firmly believes housework is a four-letter word, there are no calories in anything eaten standing up, procrastination is an art form, and it's never too soon to panic.

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Read an Excerpt

The Pursuit of Marriage


By Alexander, Victoria

Avon Books

ISBN: 006051762X

Chapter One

An independent, stubborn woman is surely
God's revenge upon an unsuspecting mankind.

L. Effington

Spring 1821

"Do you see them yet?" Miss Cassandra Effington shielded her eyes against the late morning sun and gazed into the distance.

"No." Anthony, Viscount St. Stephens, shook his head. "Any minute now, I should think. As I understand it, the course is not overly long."

"And did you wager a great deal on the outcome?" his wife, the former Miss Philadelphia Effington -- Delia to her closest friends -- said coolly.

"Not a great deal." He chuckled and slanted her an amused glance. "Did you?"

"Nothing of significance." Delia grinned. "And only with Cassie, so it scarcely counts."

"It most certainly does count," Cassie said firmly. "I fully expect you to pay promptly when you lose."

St. Stephens laughed. "Dare I ask which of you wagered on your brother and which chose Lord Berkley?"

"I, for one, would never wager against a member of the family." Delia's voice was firm. "Beyond that, Christian is an excellent rider with a fine eye for horseflesh."

"Christian is overly arrogant, although I daresay no more so than Leo or Drew." Cassie rolled her gaze toward the heavens. "It's a common trait among Effington males and among our brothers in particular."

St. Stephens raised a brow. "So you wagered on Berkley then?"

"Most certainly." Cassie nodded. "It will do Christian a world of good to lose at something, anything. Besides, from what I have heard of this Lord Berkley, he is rash and reckless and something of a rake. While those are not qualities I particularly look for, it seems to me, if one is wagering on a contest of this nature, those unsavory attributes would be most beneficial."

"Christian is rash and reckless and something of a rake," Delia murmured.

"Yes, but I am well acquainted with Christian and cannot bear the thought of how much more swaggering his step will be should he win. As I have never met Lord Berkley, I don't give a fig as to the effect of victory on his character."

St. Stephens laughed. "Well said."

Cassie grinned.

Delia's brows drew together. "If you feel that way, Tony, why did you wager on Christian?"

"You're making assumptions now, my love." St. Stephens's grin widened.

"I see. You too are lacking in family loyalty. Very well then." Delia's eyes narrowed. "Perhaps you would care to place another wager on the outcome?"

"I should indeed." A wicked light flashed in his eye. "If I can set the stakes."

Delia gazed up at her husband with a wicked smile of her own and Cassie sighed to herself, discreetly edging away from the couple. Not that they would notice. At these moments Delia and St. Stephens stepped firmly into a world of their own.

It was at once charming and most annoying. Cassie was delighted that her sister had found love, but did she have to be so very much in love? Delia and St. Stephens had been married nearly a year, after all. Indeed, they were here, at least in part, to serve as Cassie's chaperone, and those longing, yearning, wicked looks the couple continuously traded were not at all proper, although Cassie admitted her own reaction could well be simple jealousy. After all, of the two sisters, Delia had never especially sought marriage, yet here she was: married, in love, and blissfully happy.

While her twin was four-and-twenty, edging perilously closer to a firm position on the shelf with not a real possibility for a match in sight.

Cassie wandered a few steps farther away, ignoring her sister's peal of laughter and ignoring as well the intriguing thought of precisely what stakes St. Stephens had proposed. As much as Cassie hated to admit it, she was indeed jealous. Oh, she would never wish any of Delia's happiness taken away. Cassie simply wanted it too. Not that there was any chance of that at the moment.

Perhaps it was time to lower her standards.

Cassie idly scanned the crowd gathered on a rise overlooking the road. The assembly chatted with anticipation and excitement and strained for the first glimpse of the riders. It was an interesting gathering of the ton's younger members -- in truth, a set considered rather fast. Still, the majority of those present were married couples ostensibly acting as chaperone for those as yet unwed among them. It was all very proper even if there wasn't an elderly, disapproving matron in sight, and therefore a slight, distinct undercurrent of forbidden adventure lingered about it all.

The race and accompanying wager between Christian and Lord Berkley had become quite the topic of interest in the past two weeks. So much so that Lord Warren had arranged both the contest and a festive outing on his estate on the outskirts of London. His lordship had also made a specific point of inviting Cassie to the event, not that she'd had the least intention of missing it.

Her gaze drifted to Lord Warren, chatting with a small group and obviously charming every lady present. She couldn't help but wonder how many of those ladies had also received personal invitations. The man was unquestionably attractive, with an excellent title and a tidy fortune. He was witty and dashing with a reputation for excess in all matters, including women. Not at all to Cassie's taste. Lord Warren might well be interested in her, but she hadn't the least bit of interest in him. Rather a shame, really. He was an excellent catch.

"Perhaps it's time you lowered your standards," the wry voice of her oldest brother, Leo, sounded behind her.

"I was just thinking the same thing, although I daresay you're not the one who should be giving advice in matters of this nature," Cassie said mildly and turned toward her brother. "I don't see you racing headlong toward the altar."

Leopold Effington grinned down at her with the engaging smile that had turned any number of young ladies' heads ...

Continues...

Excerpted from The Pursuit of Marriage by Alexander, Victoria Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Pursuit of Marriage, The

Chapter One

An independent, stubborn woman is surely
God's revenge upon an unsuspecting mankind.

L. Effington

Spring 1821

"Do you see them yet?" Miss Cassandra Effington shielded her eyes against the late morning sun and gazed into the distance.

"No." Anthony, Viscount St. Stephens, shook his head. "Any minute now, I should think. As I understand it, the course is not overly long."

"And did you wager a great deal on the outcome?" his wife, the former Miss Philadelphia Effington -- Delia to her closest friends -- said coolly.

"Not a great deal." He chuckled and slanted her an amused glance. "Did you?"

"Nothing of significance." Delia grinned. "And only with Cassie, so it scarcely counts."

"It most certainly does count," Cassie said firmly. "I fully expect you to pay promptly when you lose."

St. Stephens laughed. "Dare I ask which of you wagered on your brother and which chose Lord Berkley?"

"I, for one, would never wager against a member of the family." Delia's voice was firm. "Beyond that, Christian is an excellent rider with a fine eye for horseflesh."

"Christian is overly arrogant, although I daresay no more so than Leo or Drew." Cassie rolled her gaze toward the heavens. "It's a common trait among Effington males and among our brothers in particular."

St. Stephens raised a brow. "So you wagered on Berkley then?"

"Most certainly." Cassie nodded. "It will do Christian a world of good to lose at something, anything. Besides, from what I have heard of this Lord Berkley, he is rash and reckless and something of a rake. While those are not qualities I particularly look for, it seems to me, if one is wagering on a contest of this nature, those unsavory attributes would be most beneficial."

"Christian is rash and reckless and something of a rake," Delia murmured.

"Yes, but I am well acquainted with Christian and cannot bear the thought of how much more swaggering his step will be should he win. As I have never met Lord Berkley, I don't give a fig as to the effect of victory on his character."

St. Stephens laughed. "Well said."

Cassie grinned.

Delia's brows drew together. "If you feel that way, Tony, why did you wager on Christian?"

"You're making assumptions now, my love." St. Stephens's grin widened.

"I see. You too are lacking in family loyalty. Very well then." Delia's eyes narrowed. "Perhaps you would care to place another wager on the outcome?"

"I should indeed." A wicked light flashed in his eye. "If I can set the stakes."

Delia gazed up at her husband with a wicked smile of her own and Cassie sighed to herself, discreetly edging away from the couple. Not that they would notice. At these moments Delia and St. Stephens stepped firmly into a world of their own.

It was at once charming and most annoying. Cassie was delighted that her sister had found love, but did she have to be so very much in love? Delia and St. Stephens had been married nearly a year, after all. Indeed, they were here, at least in part, to serve as Cassie's chaperone, and those longing, yearning, wicked looks the couple continuously traded were not at all proper, although Cassie admitted her own reaction could well be simple jealousy. After all, of the two sisters, Delia had never especially sought marriage, yet here she was: married, in love, and blissfully happy.

While her twin was four-and-twenty, edging perilously closer to a firm position on the shelf with not a real possibility for a match in sight.

Cassie wandered a few steps farther away, ignoring her sister's peal of laughter and ignoring as well the intriguing thought of precisely what stakes St. Stephens had proposed. As much as Cassie hated to admit it, she was indeed jealous. Oh, she would never wish any of Delia's happiness taken away. Cassie simply wanted it too. Not that there was any chance of that at the moment.

Perhaps it was time to lower her standards.

Cassie idly scanned the crowd gathered on a rise overlooking the road. The assembly chatted with anticipation and excitement and strained for the first glimpse of the riders. It was an interesting gathering of the ton's younger members -- in truth, a set considered rather fast. Still, the majority of those present were married couples ostensibly acting as chaperone for those as yet unwed among them. It was all very proper even if there wasn't an elderly, disapproving matron in sight, and therefore a slight, distinct undercurrent of forbidden adventure lingered about it all.

The race and accompanying wager between Christian and Lord Berkley had become quite the topic of interest in the past two weeks. So much so that Lord Warren had arranged both the contest and a festive outing on his estate on the outskirts of London. His lordship had also made a specific point of inviting Cassie to the event, not that she'd had the least intention of missing it.

Her gaze drifted to Lord Warren, chatting with a small group and obviously charming every lady present. She couldn't help but wonder how many of those ladies had also received personal invitations. The man was unquestionably attractive, with an excellent title and a tidy fortune. He was witty and dashing with a reputation for excess in all matters, including women. Not at all to Cassie's taste. Lord Warren might well be interested in her, but she hadn't the least bit of interest in him. Rather a shame, really. He was an excellent catch.

"Perhaps it's time you lowered your standards," the wry voice of her oldest brother, Leo, sounded behind her.

"I was just thinking the same thing, although I daresay you're not the one who should be giving advice in matters of this nature," Cassie said mildly and turned toward her brother. "I don't see you racing headlong toward the altar."

Leopold Effington grinned down at her with the engaging smile that had turned any number of young ladies' heads ...

Pursuit of Marriage, The. Copyright © by Victoria Alexander. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 21 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2006

    This One Will Make You Smile...

    I have read a few books by Ms. Alexander this past year, including ¿When We Meet Again¿(good), ¿The Marriage Bargain¿ (excellent), ¿The Husband List¿ (not bad) and ¿The Lady in Question¿ (pretty good). All of her books are entertaining, lively and contain great dialogue and banter. I never purchase her books for sexy love scenes or wildly adventurous hero¿s and heroines. Rather¿I buy them as I know I¿ll always get a novel that contains a solid plot line, interesting and charismatic lead characters and a worthy ending. Although I would not consider this one of my favorite books of all time, it was interesting reading about Cassie since I had just finished The Lady in Question ¿ which was about Delia ¿ the other twin. I got a kick out of this story and how Cassie and Reggie meet ¿ tell one another boldly that they are not right for the other ¿ yet¿cannot get away for the irresistible attraction they feel for one another. The story develops as Reggie and Cassie bet that they can find the correct mate for the other ¿ Lord Perfect for Cassie and Miss Wonderful for Reggie. The story takes twists and turns as they seek out the right mate for each other, yet secretly believe they have found that in each other. I liked that all the side characters ¿ Reggie¿s best friend Marcus, Cassie¿s sister and brothers and both of their mothers are all involved on the side in bringing these two together yet¿they don¿t know it. I liked the twist in that Reggie was always falling in love with the gals (instead of being the usual sexy and moody male lead who loves and leaves them all) yet¿they never returned his feelings as he declared himself too soon. He was the Casanova of his time. He reformed himself for Cassie and it was a delight to see him develop as a person and realize that real love is deeper and more true than he has ever experienced before. Cassie in turn gets off her lofty perch looking for the perfect man and realizes the ones with some slight flaws and odd quirks can simply be the most interesting and appealing in the end. Perfection is not all it¿s cut out to be. Reggie is perfection without being perfect she finds out. I get a kick out of the Ladies Society for The Betterment of The Future of Great Britian ¿ a batch of mothers and grandmothers desperate for their young sons and daughters to get hitched instead of staying single too long. They want children and they will make sure it happens!!! So far¿they made three love matches happen locally and hope Cassie and Reggie will be number four! Stand by to see if it works! Oh..the fun never ends when it involves an Effington gal. Pick this one up¿you are bound to enjoy the beginning, middle and ending of this story. Happy reading!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2008

    A very enjoyable read!

    If you are looking for a light and fun read you will enjoy this book. It was a simple and not very complicated story, the only complications you will find with this story is that you will not want to put it down. For anyone who likes a good lighthearted story and simply would like to take a break from the normal heavy stories typical of the regency period, you should be able to appreciate this one. I finished all of this story in one sitting,I could not put it down it was hilarious and very entertaining. The humorous way they battled with words,the confusion of thoughts on Cassandra's part and the butting of heads between the two character's of Reggie and Cassandra were extremely amusing. simply put I loved it!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2007

    Great idea but lacking in delivery

    It's obvious that the idea behind this storyline was a good one but the author ever really delivered on a great premise. It ended up being one of those train wreck books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2005

    Humorous!

    I've always wondered what would happen to Cassandra Effington ever since I read the prequel, The Lady In Question, and I have to say, I wasn't disappointed! Absolutely wonderful! It had me laughing the whole time I was reading it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2005

    A Very Entertaining Read

    This is the first book by Victoria Alexander that I've read and it certainly won't be my last - particularly if this is any indication of how entertaining the rest of her Effington series is. I liked both Cassie and Reggie, and found their banter to be witty and charming. This book had me laughing out loud and cheering them on. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a witty, light-hearted romance.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2004

    DOUBLY BORING

    STORY WAS BORING AND THE CHARACTERS BORING THEREFORE A DOUBLY BORING BOOK. IF I MAKE IT THROUGH 3/4TH OF THE BOOK I USUALLY FINISH IT BUT I WAS UNABLE TO DO SO IN THIS CASE.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2004

    BORING!

    Never have I read a more boring book. I had to reward myself If I read more than a few pages at a time--this from someone known to read a 400 page book in 4 hours. The dialogue was pages and pages of boring-the characters were deadly boring-romance nearly non-exsistent. Don't even know what else to say except if you don't want to take sleeping pills-try this book it will put you to sleep quickly. Oh yes--the drawings of the main characters inside the book made the characters laughable-certainly not the description given in the book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2004

    WOW

    Having read only a few chapters I find it absolutely smashing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2004

    OUTSTANDING

    Having read every one of Victoria Alexander's novels, I absolutely loved this one. My favourite character has always been that of Lord Berkley. He has always been the quiet romantic one who falls in and out of love easily. Until the day he came across Cassandra Effington. The 'Infameous Lord Berkley' and the 'Eccentric Miss Effington' make for a very interesting and also very comical pair. In the end, it would seem that 'Lord Perfect' and 'Miss Wonderful' really did find eachother. I couldn't wait for this novel to come out. I couldn't put it down. This novel has it all. To quote Stephanie Laurens, 'Victoria Alexander delivers on all accounts.' The introduction of new characters in this story pave the way for many more novels to be written by Victoria Alexander, and I for one cannot wait to read the next one. Bravo, simply outstanding!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2004

    An infamous author with a devious mind.

    It is Spring, 1821. 'The Ladies Society for the Betterment of the Future of Britain' are at it again! In the last novel (titled 'The Lady In Question') the ladies' attentions were on Lady Delia Effington and Viscount Tony St. Stephens. Now the ladies direct their attentions to Delia's twin sister, Cassandra. ..................... Miss Cassandra 'Cassie' Effington has a talent for the refurbishment and redecoration of houses. There are no prospects of marriage in her future due, not to her business, but the fact that she dreams of Lord Perfect. Only a God could possibly meet all her expectations. However, even if Cassie was to lower her standards, she would never consider someone like Viscount Reginald 'Reggie' Berkley. Cassie has no desire to tame a rogue and Reggie's reputation has become 'infamous'. .................... Reggie's reputation is mainly word-of-mouth. His friends worked for almost a year to make Reggie's past sound dangerous. It was to keep ladies at bay. Instead, it only managed to keep the one lady at bay that he wishes to get closer to, Cassie. ...................... Then Reggie's mother seems to suddenly be on her death bed. As a last wish, if she cannot see Reggie wed, she would at least like to see him get prepared for marriage. Since it is easier to get forgiveness than permission, she hires Cassie to redecorate several rooms. And since she is way too ill to be out of bed, Reggie is to spend a lot of time with Cassie helping her. ...................... Cassie and Reggie begin on the wrong foot, but eventually become friends. As friends, they make a wager. Cassie would try to find Reggie his 'Miss Wonderful'. Reggie would try to find Cassie's 'Lord Perfect'. Reggie enters the bet knowing he will turn down every lady Cassie find for him and he would introduce Cassie ONLY to men he is sure she will turn down. Because he intends to be her Lord Perfect! ..................... ***** How I love those scheming mothers! This tale is as good as the first, if not more so. Author Victoria Alexander seems to be getting better with each book she writes. The characters are life-like and I found it very easy to care for them. The more I read, the more I realized that this author has a devious side. Readers cannot help but enjoy the stories that Victoria Alexander comes up with. Pick up a copy of this novel and see for yourself. *****

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