Publisher: New York: St. Martin's Press
Review source: Library
Reviewed by: Kathy Davie
An historical romance set in 1894 Newport Beach at a time when the poor lords of England were hunting the rich American heiresses.
This is not what I was expecting from an Evanovich tale. It was too bland, too banal, too over the top. Sure, there was some humor in it, but it was somewhat heavyhanded, especially with the women's suffragette message thumping throughout and the evil Snidley Whiplash villain. No, I don't object to the message. Not at all. I'm all for the cake-loving Caroline to get her way. I simply expected much more of Evanovich.
Most of the story was based in Newport Beach, providing the background, setting up the character conflicts, bracing us for the melodramatic reveal in England. Light, fluffy, yawn.
It was sweet how very much Caroline envied Jack's ability to travel and explore. Makes you want them to be able to marry. I did like Caroline's intelligence and determination---must have gotten that one from her mama.
A lightweight romance about the poor beset heiress who simply wants her independence and the singleminded mother who wants her daughter to marry a duke's heir whom even the duke doesn't want to inherit.
Caroline much prefers an upstart Irishman who buys up breweries.
Caroline Maxwell knows what she wants---chocolate cake and Jack. Her two sisters---Amelia and Helen---are unable to lie to their determined Mama, Agnes Maxwell. A lady who is determined that Caroline will marry a title. Annie is Caroline's new, complicit maid; Miss Peek-Jacobs is the martinet Mrs. Maxwell hires to force feed Debrett's Peerage into Caroline. Bertha is mama's maid. Bernard Maxwell is her indulgent father.
Jack Culhane has expanded on his Irish father's efforts, and now Jack concentrates on buying up breweries. He'll do anything it takes to get the ones he wants. He's best friends with Eddie Maxwell, Caroline's brother. O'Toole is his valet. His dad is Patrick, who realizes what a mistake he made. Flora Willoughby is an old flame of his father's, who preferred to tread the boards.
"Gustav Muller is Jack's brewmaster from Liberty Brewery in Philadelphia." Heinrich Krantz is the latest brewer whom Jack intends to conquer. Friends of Jack and Eddie's include Charles Vandermeulen, Robert Conable, and Harold VanAndel.
Mildred Longhorne is a bosom friend of Mama's. Harriet Vandermeulen is the very determined friend of Caroline's with a very unrealistic goal.
Lord Bremerton, Marcus, is the heir of the Duke of Endsleigh. He'll be perfect. Mrs. Parker is the housekeeper at Bremerton's country house, Chesley House; Cora is the sole maid married to Jamie; Lady Carew is a relative of Bremerton's and rather dotty; and, Adele is Bremerton's first wife.
The cover has a brilliant glossy white background encircled with frilly golden curlicues. The authors' names are prominent and you can almost find the title in all those lines.
The title is very accurate as mama has The Husband List of who is acceptable.