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The Sherbrooke bride
Catherine Coulter
Adult Romance COULTER

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In a display of what poses as wit in this Regency novel, the first of a trilogy, Douglas Sherbrooke, Earl of Northcliffe, tells his wife Alexandra that she is ``as amusing as a boil on a backside.'' Unfortunately, he's right. Worse, bestselling romancer Coulter's ( Earth Song ) lame story is no more amusing. The tale begins when Douglas is dispatched to France on a secret mission for the British government just as he is to marry the beautiful Melissande Chambers. He sends his cousin Tony Parrish to act as his proxy during the ceremony, but the bride and substitute groom fall in love and elope. They return to carry on with the proxy wedding, making Melissande's younger sister Alexandra the bride. Douglas is predictably annoyed when he returns and arrogantly makes this very clear to his unwanted wife. He rebuffs Alexandra's attempts to earn his favor until she wises up and tries to run off; then he decides to keep her. To prevent things from getting too cozy Coulter resurrects the poorly developed spy subplot and has Alexandra kidnapped. Douglas and Tony take off in pursuit, evil is vanquished and everybody who is supposed to be happy ends up that way. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In this first in a trilogy of Regency romances, Douglas Sherbrooke, the Earl of Northcliffe, must marry to produce a legitimate heir. Because he needs to be in France on the day of his marriage, he sends his cousin to wed Melissande, his chosen bride, by proxy. The cousin, instead, marries her for keeps. Douglas ends up with her less-appealing sister Alexandra, who coincidentally has been in love with Douglas for several years. Both couples are together in the Sherbrooke household after the wedding, so Douglas has plenty of opportunity to compare the two women. Of course, as is to be expected, all ends well, and Douglas and Alexandra overcome a number of pitfalls, including her kidnapping, and fall in love. Some listeners may have trouble finding the humor here and will consider parts of the plot preposterous and silly. Read by Anne Flosnik, this novel is recommended where Regencies are popular.-Mary Knapp, Madison P.L., WI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Douglas Sherbrooke, Earl of Northcliffe

Melissande Chambers
Beautiful; betrothed to Douglas.

Tony Parrish
Douglas' cousin; proxy groom.

Alexandra Chambers
Melissande's sister.

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