Strangers at the Altar by Marguerite Kaye

May 17, 2016

"Yeah, I've been searchin'
A-a searchin'
Oh, yeah, searchin' every which a-way
Yeah, yeah
Oh, yeah, searchin'
I'm searchin'
Searchin' every which a-way
Yeah, yeah"

Yes, I've been searchin' for something to read. My bright idea was to turn to other top rated reviews. I found numerous top rated reviews at AAR, however I read historicals so I had to

whittle my list down, then I had to shrink it down even further to the ones I hadn't already read. This left me with a grand total of two books - woo-woo. The first of my two books was Strangers at the Altar by Marguerite Kaye, written in 2014. This was my first Marguerite Kaye book and it turned out to be pretty enjoyable. I may read more of her books, although I have to say that I find some of the titles in her library to be a little silly, if not downright irritating. But that's life in Romanceland.

Strangers at the Altar was/is a marriage-of-convenience story - nothing better than a good story about a contracted marriage - especially in Romanceland. This one was about Ainsley McBrayne, a widow who has been left without any funds by her worthless husband. She’s at her solicitor’s office trying to break the trust. She has exploded into a wonderful conniption-fit when we are first introduced to her. Who should be in the next room with troubles of his own? Innes Drummond – our hero. After listening to her rant, he comes up with a plan. He follows her when she storms out of the office.

His plan. Since he has to marry to get his inheritance, he thinks that a marriage with no strings attached would be a simply mar-ve-lous idea. It doesn’t take too much arm-bending for Ainsley to agree. They both need money, neither one of them want any romance, they think their marriage-of-convenience will just be the cat’s meow. What a deluded couple.

I liked this couple. Right from the beginning they know where they stand with each other. It doesn't take too long before they are great partners. They talk to each other, they are very open with each other, and even Ainsley's secret (of course she has a secret) isn't a secret for very long. In fact when Innes finds out that Ainsley is an advice columnist he helps her. Even though Ainsley is a widow, her knowledge of some aspects of married life are a little bit innocent. Can you say Missionary? Innes helps her expand her knowledge. These scenes between Ainsley are not only funny but very sensual.

The tension in this story is not created by an outside force, but from the fact that neither Ainsley or Innis want to be in love. It's quite a struggle. Innis puts up more of a struggle than Ainsley - he is a little bit more closed than Ainsley.  He doesn't always ask for help when he needs to. He's just a wee bit stubborn. For the most part, Ms. Kaye has created a nice balancing act between the antagonists and their struggle not fall in love. I loved the relationship which developed between the two.

Names. The names Ainsley and Innes gave me a headache. Tooooo many I,S and N's for me.

The secondary characters were also a joy. I especially liked Ainsley's friend Felicity and was hoping there may have been a sequel with Felicity as the heroine, but I couldn't find any. I'm hoping Ms. Kaye makes room for Felicity in her writing schedule. I think Felicity would be a challenging character for a full length novel. She's not a typical heroine.

Was this a perfect novel? No. I had a bit of an issue with Innes being stubborn just a little toooooo long. Yes, I realize he didn't want to fall in love, but he could have admitted his love just a little sooner. I also think his grovel needed to be just a tiny bit longer. Other than that I thought this book was a pretty good read and though I'm not giving it as high a rating as the one at AAR, I think this is one that isn't to be missed. I had a smile on my face when I finished.

Time/Place: 1840 England
Sensuality: Hot

No comments: