Monday, July 21, 2008

Four In Hand - Margaret Westhaven

Lady Jane Averham had been married once - and once was quite enough. Her late, unlamented husband left her with wealth, position, and two daughters to raise. He left her as well with a delight in freedom after the constraints of wedlock. All that was missing from her life was love - and the handsome, ardent Archibald MacGowen was on hand to fill that need. Unfortunately this marvelous man wanted her as a wife as well as a woman . . . and somehow Jane had to find a way to keep the primrose path from leading her to the altar!

I was quite interested in this little story set in Vienna during the Congress and that featured a widow heroine who didn't want to remarry not to be under a man's thumb again. There's also the fact the heroine is older than the hero!

I must say that I found it very interesting and well written. The heroine, Lady Jane has two daugthers with the older one in her first season and is chaperoning two other girls. The brother of one of those girls visits her house and they are both immediately attracted to each and soon start an affair. I found it original that it's the hero who pursues the heroine, he wants to marry her after they became lovers which seems a bit odd to her considered how society marriages work and she doesn't want to marry him as she as fallen in love with him and doesn't want to suffer when he evetually gets tired of her.

I thought both their behaviours were interesting and believable. The hero, Archie is a diplomat and I liked that the author portrayed Vienna is such an important period for the world replete with diplomats, spys and several national interests on the table. Jane's daughters and charges are also involved in several adventures and some get their happy ending too.

My only complaint is that all seemed a bit too rational to me and never really felt for them. I enjoyed it, appreciated how good it was but I didn't love it...

Grade: B

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