One of BuzzFeed's Romance Novels to Read Summer 2020
It is a truth universally acknowledged that an arrogant bachelor insistent on a wife who meets the strictest of requirements--deserves his comeuppance.
The Honourable Mr. Jeremy Malcolm is searching for a wife, but not just any wife. As the target of matchmaking mothers and desperate debutantes, he's determined to avoid the fortune hunters and find a near-perfect woman, one who will meet the qualifications on his well-crafted list. But after years of searching, he's beginning to despair of ever finding this paragon. Until Selina Dalton arrives in town.
Selina, a vicar's daughter of limited means and a stranger to high society, is thrilled when her friend Julia Thistlewaite invites her to London, until she learns it's all part of a plot to exact revenge on Mr. Malcolm. Selina is reluctant to participate in Julia's scheme, especially after meeting the irresistible Mr. Malcolm, who appears to be very different from the arrogant scoundrel of Julia's description.
But when Mr. Malcolm begins judging Selina against his unattainable standards, Selina decides that she has some qualifications of her own. And if he is to meet them he must reveal the real man behind...Mr. Malcolm's List.
Allain (The Celebrated Pedestrian) delights with a Regency rom-com about the perils of finding a spouse based on the requirements of a list. The Hon. Jeremy Malcolm, second son of the Earl of Kilbourne, has a list of qualities he's looking for in a wife, among them "has genteel relations" and "converses in a sensible fashion." When spurned Julia Thistlewaite learns of this list, she assumes it's the reason Jeremy rejected her and plots her revenge. Julia invites her friend Selina Dalton, a vicar's daughter, to London, planning to tailor her to Jeremy's list, attract his attention, and then reject him for failing to meet the qualifications of her own list. Selina initially goes along with Julia's prank, knowing it's her only chance to experience London society and taking Julia's word that Jeremy deserves to be brought down a peg. But upon meeting and clicking with Jeremy, Selina starts to have doubts. Jeremy invites Selena and Julia to a house party at his country estate and the pair grows even closer. But when Jeremy learns of Selina and Julia's prank, his anger and disdain for Selina halts their courtship. Allain's characters are witty and appealing, and the sizzle between Jeremy and Selina is convincing. This effervescent love story is a charmer.