Book Review: The Husband List

 

It’s February, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and love is in the air. I was in the mood for a little romance…. literary romance, that is. I’m not talking about fifty shades of anything, but some good, old-fashioned chick lit where the strong female protagonist will stop at nothing to be in the arms of her beloved….but I digress yet again.

While the dust jacket with its red and pink embossed hearts and filigree was a bit of a turn-off for me, the synopsis teased of a plot that was exactly what I had in mind.

From the New York Times bestselling writing duo of Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly comes the story of an heiress longing to marry for love or not at all…

Caroline Maxwell would like nothing more than to join her brother, Eddie, and his friend Jack Culhane on their adventures.  While Jack and Eddie are off seeing the world, buying up businesses and building wildly successful careers, Caroline’s stuck at home, frightening off the list of men her mother hopes will ask for her hand in marriage.  When her mother sets her sights on the questionable Lord Bremerton as a possible suitor, Caroline struggles with her instincts and the true nature of her heart.  She longs for adventure, passion, love and most of all… Jack Culhane, an unconventional Irish-American bachelor with new money and no title — a completely unacceptable suitor, in the eyes of Caroline’s mother.  Can Jack and Caroline find love, against all odds, with danger looming, and despite the forces pulling them apart?

Set in New York City and the ‘summer cottages’ of Newport, Rhode Island in 1894, The Husband List evokes the lavish lifestyles and social expectations of the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers, and a time when new money from the Americas married Old World social prestige and privilege.  Dresses by Worth, transoceanic voyages, lavish parties, a little intrigue, and a lot of romance await in The Husband List.

The Husband List did not disappoint. Caroline’s strong will and quick wit proved to be a good match for her overbearing and unreasonable mother. The lavish frivolities of the garden parties and orchestrated social gatherings were entertaining and deftly described. And the chemistry between not-so-proper Miss Caroline Maxwell and the rough and charming Jack Culhane had me at the get go. (Never mind the sub-plot between Jack’s father and the scandalous widow, Flora Willoughby.) But I still can’t decide who the hero of the day was. Without giving away too much of the predictable yet satisfying end, was it Jack who came to the rescue? Caroline, for staying true to her heart? Or was it Mister Bernard Maxwell for stepping in and finally putting mother in her place….

The Husband List was a perfect dose of love and adventure of the soft and fluffy sort for this die-hard romantic.