Stuff and Nonsense: A Change of Heart


A Change of Heart

Ah, sweet Mary, he thought as he looked down into her big hazel eyes. She was going to provide him the means to dig himself out of the quagmire of debts he had inherited. He was sincerely grateful to her and would attempt -- he really would attempt -- to be an accommodating husband. He was fond of her, after all, regardless of the fact that she in no way represented the sort of woman he preferred. At least, he thought as he pulled the diminutive bundle in his arms closer, she was not completely unattractive to him.

A charming but unattractive spinster befriends a naughty rake in search of a wife and offers to help him find the perfect bride. And she does bring him miss after miss, but none take as they all have one fatal flaw -- they're not rich. But it's not the spinster's fault as the rake never told her he must have a rich wife. And why hasn't he told he this? Because he doesn't want to be seen as a pitiful fortune hunter. (Perfectly fine to be a debauched rake, of course). Also, the rake finds himself growing increasingly fond of the spinster (and the spinster of the rake, conveniently). The spinster is the perfect friend and could be the perfect wife, if only she were rich ...

You see where this is going, right? She'll turn out of be quite rich. He'll marry her for the money. She'll think it's out of friendship and mutual understanding. She'll discover The Terrible Truth. There will be Suffering and Reconciliation and Love.

And the story does fall along those lines, but ... it's actually not bad. Predictable, but also kind-of cute and funny in places. I enjoyed the secondary romance that blossomed between Mrs. Bannister and Mr. Maitland and watching Spinster Mary interact with Jack's family as they were all quite interesting and rather lovely characters.

However, I did not really warm to Jack the Rake. He treated her quite shabbily as both a friend and a fiance and, one more than one occasion, he nearly ruined the novel for me. I guess he's so used to turning his charms on a woman and having her bend to his every whim that he thinks he can get away with being an ass? Because he is quite frequently an ass. Even visualizing him as Hugh Laurie (an actor that was born to play a Regency Rake if any man ever was) did not help and that's my surefire way to stop hatin' on a rakish lead.

I think I'm simply going to stop reading romances for a while. After all, there are many other genres to try. I've never read a Western ...

A Change of Heart by Candice Hern (Signet, 1995)

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