Married to a Perfect Stranger

Sourcebooks Casablanca. Mar. 2015. 384p. ISBN 9781492601906. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781492601913. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Mary and John Bexley were married but a month in 1817 when John was deployed on a diplomatic mission to China. Now, nearly two years later, the unsuccessful effort is done, and John returns home to find his "submissive, quiet, empty-headed, boring" wife transformed and running her Aunt Lavinia's Somerset manor. Who is this managing female, John wonders. After gaining a bit of starch and self-confidence during John's absence, Mary doesn't recognize this stern and uncompromising man. Following their less-than-ideal reunion, the couple set up housekeeping in London. John embarks on late-night forays into the city's underbelly in an attempt to glean information and salvage the China endeavor. He needs to succeed in part to prove to his family that he is not the bumbler they have always considered him. Mary has family issues as well, mostly related to her talent for drawing portraits that reveal the innermost thoughts and feelings of the subject, without her conscious effort. John and Mary barely knew each other upon their wedding, but now they seem like perfect strangers.
VERDICT Ashford (The Headstrong Ward; The Bride Insists) has created sympathetic protagonists in Mary and John. Each is at the bottom of their respective family's ladder of expectations, yet through each other's encouragement and love they find strength and self-worth. An absorbing romance, for all collections.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing