Friday, June 27, 2008

"The Wedding Bargain" Wins Handsdown

London's most scandalous beauty, Pandora Effington, intends to marry a hero—not one of those boring, run-of-the-mill bachelor lords who leave her cold. No, the husband she desires must be someone special, someone whose touch sends delicious shivers down her spine, and who will do absolutely everything in his power to win her love. Someone like . . . Maximillian Wells.

The dashing Earl of Trent cannot believe his ears . . . or his eyes. Here before him stands beautiful Pandora Effington, and the fiery, unattainable heiress is making him a most tantalizing offer. Maximillian can have the lady's hand in marriage . . . if he agrees to play a game of her devising—one involving great risk, ingenuity, passion, and determination.

It is a game he has no intention of losing . .

If I was not already hooked on romance books, I think The Wedding Bargain would have accomplished it all by itself! I have read some of Victoria ALexander's novels before, and I found that I liked pretty much all of them (some more than others, of course, though I cannot remember specific ones right now), but TWB showed her writting in a whole new light-- and not in a bad way! It was in my TBR pile for a while, but when I picked it up Thursday morning, I had it finished by Friday morning *today*. There were very few, if any, flaws I found in the writting/story. It was heartwarming, yet lusty at the right times. Add to that a touch of spice, AKA, Pandora and Max's 'Wedding Bargain', and I dare any avid reader of historical romances to tell me they did not love it.

Though this is one of her older books, I think it may have been her best one *that I have read* so far! From the beginning I liked Pandora's character, because she was not a silly little twit like some authors' make the heroine out to be during this time period. She was strong, a hellion in Society's eyes (though this nickname was all started by a certain friend of the hero's...), and she is everything that 98%+ of the women in this time period were not. She reminded me a lot of myself, which probably helped me to enjoy this book as much as I did. But nontheless, I think I would have loved it even if we did not have so much in common.

Max is, as Pandora so accurately names him from the beginning, "A rake, a scoundrel, a rogue, and a beast!". As this is the standard for many hero's in this type of book, it's nothing new. But I did actually like Max because, unlike some hero's from other books, he did not act like any of those, or at least not during the time period of the story. From the first page, he's already telling the reader how he has wanted her, both in his bed and as his wife, for a while, and now he is willing to do anything to get her there. Of course, love is not mentioned in the first part of the book, on either one of their parts, not because it's not there, but because neither one expected it (or accepted it, though subconciously I'm sure they knew for a long time), nor wanted it at the time. But they both come to realize that they are falling in love during their little challange.

One reviewer on B& said that she didn't like it because of the way that both characters doubted their love for one another 3 or 4 times through out the story, and she found this bothersome. Well, yes, they did question their love a few times, but in real life, love does not always happen to everyone the same way. Some believe in love at first sight, others don't. Some come right out with their true feelings as soon as they realize what they are. Others do not. I think that, especially since neither one of them had ever been in love before, questioning whether or not you would die for this person, whether your love ran that deep, whether you wanted to spend the rest of your life together (especially on Pandora's side, because she does not want to wed unless their is a deep affection between both parties), is not stupid or unreasonable. Emotions are sometimes hard to handle, because they are just that-- emotions. Some people handle them as what they are, others stop and try to think rashionally before jumping too soon. I personally think that, in most cases, the latter helps a person a great deal in their life and will probably help to prevent too many mistakes that they will regret later *though a few are not bad since, after all, a person has to learn from their mistakes*.

The one and only flaw I saw in the story that kind of bothered me was how Pandora's favorite line to use on any guy she was putting down, mostly Max, but it mentions a few of her older suitors too, always stayed the same-- and she used it again, and again, and, you guessed it, again. Now, the first time, it was nice, and it showed you early own what her character was like-- stubborn and a hellion. Twice, okay. But 10 times in a book? It got old. Choose one from each of the following groups of options to fill in the sentence and you have her favorite line, with slight variations:
"I would rather be (attacked by wild beasts/held hostage by wild Savages/pulled apart by rogue camels) in (South America/Africa/North America/Egypt) than (marry/kiss/dance) with you!"

Okay, so mostly only the 'marry' option on that last part, but still. I simply found it tiring.
If she had used it less in the book, I may have given it that last .5 star needed to make it a 100% perfect 5 star in my review. But don't let this one annoyance stop you from reading the book!

4.5/5 stars. This is a don't miss romance classic! The Wedding Bargain is a great romantic book, set in historical England, with great characters, interesting conversations, sexual tension through out, and a mixture of heartwarming and lusty love scenes *well, one love scene, a few of kissing, et cetera*. This is a don't miss romance classic!

Until next time... Read plenty, laugh often, love unconditionally, and live each day to it's fullest.


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