I was really curious about this story. It's been a while since I read a Candice Hern book, can't remember when was the last one, but a story with widows as main characters is a bit uncommon. As the widows seem ready to engage in amorous activities only make's it more interesting.
Marianne Nesbitt adored her late husband David, but the racy reminiscences of the Merry Widows make her wonder if she missed something special. Might she find it now through a love affair? Uncertain how to go about it, she asks Adam Cazenove, an old friend and notorious rake, to tutor her in the arts of seduction.
The brazen request turns Adam’s world upside down. He never imagined his best friend’s very proper and exceedingly attractive widow would seek out a lover. If not for his recent betrothal, he would jump at the chance to warm her bed. Since he cannot bear the thought of another man doing so, he foils her every attempt at seduction. Until one night of unintended passion changes everything ...
Unfortunately in the end I don't think it worked all that well, to me this seemed the perfect plot for a commedy of manners instead Hern gives us misunderstandings, one after another, between two old friends who've been forever in love with each other but are just now finding that out when he announces his engagement to another woman and she her decision to take a lover and find out what she has been missing.
I decided to take this as a comedy just the same because the lengths to which Adam goes to scare away Marianne's potencial lovers is funny and sometimes bordering on the absurd. The "event" that Hern used to bring them together didn't much please me - Adam was still engaged to another woman. But truth be told he did not try to trick Marianne and if she was unable to recognise him it wasn't really his fault. And even with how much I like to see a hero grovel I don't think this one really had a reason to be as punished as he was.
Even after all these faults I think the idea behind it still has merit and so I'm looking forward to more adventures of the Benevolent Widows.