The Lady's Proposal
by Patricia Waddell, historical (2001)
Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-6993-6

Lady Clarissa Pomeroy decides that if she can't avoid getting married, she'd do the next best thing. She will find her own husband instead of waiting for Mr Right to sweep her off. With her money and all, she has the world at her feet. So from her list of potential candidates, she decides that Simon Sinclair, a man she knows as honorable and can be counted upon not to run through her money, will do as Mr Almost Right.

Simon likes Clarissa. He is about to make a move on her, in fact, when she makes the move on him. Wedding time, ding dong bell. It is only after the honeymoon bliss is over than these two realize one important fact: he's a hardboiled chauvinist pig and she is a determined feminist. Meeow, ooowww, scratch, hissss...

The Lady's Proposal is seriously unbalanced in my opinion. Clarissa is an amazing heroine - she actually thinks clearly and makes wise decisions to do the right things in life. If life sucks, she'll find a way to keep her head high. But Simon is a complete jackass. The way he and Clarissa clash over her charity project for unwed mothers only bring out the most offensive and worst in him. The author makes him do a complete turnaround in the last chapter, but by then I have this Simon pig roasted to a crisp. He just wouldn't listen to Clarissa, it's his way or none at all to a point that he drives his wife beyond breaking point.

In a way, it's nice to read about an intelligent romance heroine for a change in a decent story that brings about some interesting aspects of 19th century English social reforms. But the hero is such a jerk that I just want him gone. Barbecued. Trampled by mad elephants that escaped from the nearby circus. Kidnapped by faerie sex fiends for an eternity of kinky fun. Anything, really, just to get him out of the picture. Clarissa can do so much better - why does she have to end up with this loser? Bah.

Rating: 78

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