The Barnes & Noble Review
Regency favorite Eloisa James adds a delicious wrinkle to the theme of unlikely attraction in this irresistible romance. Her heroine, Helene, the Countess Goodwin, scandalized her family ten years ago by eloping with Rees Holland, but the marriage quickly soured on their disastrous wedding night. Now, after ten years of Rees behaving badly with other women, Helene can't risk a divorce, but she desperately wants a child. She sets off to the ball, determined to step out of the shadows, take a lover, and earn her own scandal. But just when a new suitor seems up to the task, Rees surprisingly steps in, determined that if anyone is to be the father of his wife's child, it will be him. A month's trial is set, and from then on, in a perfect Regency twist, it is up to Rees to persuade Helene to forego her intended wicked ways. Ginger Curwen
Rounding out her quartet of Regency-era romances (A Wild Pursuit, etc.), James delivers the story of Helene, long estranged from her husband, Rees, who pens comic operas and thrives on scandal. The very proper Helene enjoys the solicitude of the rest of Society until she decides that she wants a child and will have one even if she has to go outside her marriage. Shaken out of his self-involvement by Helene's determination, Rees offers a bargain: he'll father Helene's child, making it legitimate, if she agrees to move into his house for a month and help him with his opera. The catch his current mistress will remain in the house. Rees has a secret, however; he's keeping his mistress there only for her skilled voice, not out of love or even interest in the woman. Bit by bit, Helene and Rees come to terms with the disastrous first year of their marriage, including Rees's lack of skill in the marital bed (which is refreshing for a romance hero), and they begin to wonder if their love can be rekindled. James's zingers aren't as plentiful here as in past novels, but she still fires off a quiver full and solidifies her reputation as a top talent in the crowded field of humorous romances. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.