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The Kiss of a Stranger by Sarah M. Eden

When Crispin, Lord Cavratt, thoroughly and scandalously kisses a serving woman in the garden of a country inn, he assumes the encounter will be of no consequence. But he couldn't be more mistaken--the maid is not only a lady of birth, she's the niece of a very large, exceptionally angry gentlemen, who claims Crispin has compromised his niece beyond redemption. The dismayed young lord has no choice but to marry Miss Catherine Thorndale, who lacks both money and refinement and assumes all men are as vicious as her guardian uncle.

Trapped between an unwanted marriage and a hasty annulment, which would leave his reputation tainted and Catherine's utterly ruined, Crispin begins guiding his wife's transformation from a socially petrified country girl to a lady of society. Their unfolding relationship reveals encouraging surprises for both of them, and privately each of them wonders if theirs may become a true marriage of the heart. But their hopes are dashed when forces conspire to split asunder what fate has granted. As a battle of wits escalates into a life-threatening confrontation, will it be possible for Crispin and Catherine to live happily ever after?

Opening line: "Blast it all!" Crispin Handle, Lord Cavratt, did not generally resort to muttering under his breath, but an exasperating female could push even the most levelheaded gentleman to extremes."

Loved, loved this book. Who doesn't  love a good, clean romance? And a Regency Romance is even better.
Sarah has a great way with words and humor in her writing and her 'real' life. She's funny, smart and short. But we can't all be tall. Then who would be find all the pennies and pick them up for good luck?
I digress. Back to the review.
I read this book in one day, not because it's not well-written, but because I couldn't put it down. I felt like I was friends with Crispin and Catherine and wanted to make sure everything worked out for them. It's the classic tale of misunderstandings, love growing stronger, villains, caveats and yummy food.
In a fit of pride, Crispin kisses a servant who turns out to be the abused niece of a rich man. Catherine has been emotionally and physically abused for so long she believes it's common practice. 
The uncle announces Crispin has taken advantage of Catherine and forces them to marry. Crispin vows to get the marriage annulled. In the meantime, while waiting for the annulment, he falls in love with Catherine, his accidental wife.

Rating: G
V: A few slaps and punches
L: No
S: kissing

25% test (p. 63):
""I see someone I'd like to introduce to you," he told Catherine in low tones and began moving in Mr. Ritfield's direction Around them the murmur picked up again in the room and the latest arrivals were announced.
"Lord Cavratt!" Mr. Ritfield smiled as they reached him. "A pleasure!"
Crispin undertook the introductions, miraculously managing to quite smoothly utter the phrase "my wife."
Mr. Ritfield paused only long enough for a breath before launching into a one-sided conversation with Catherine. "Only the other day I said to my wife, 'lord Cavratt really ought to find himself a wife.' And now I find out he has. Capital! Capital!"
Cripsin had forgotten Ritfield's tendency to grin unceasingly. That would either prove relieving to Catherine or unnerving. Crispin watched her, ready to move on if the encounter didn't look promising.
"Lord Cavratt is quite a favorite in the neighbourhood. We've all been hoping he would find a lovely lady to bring home to Kinnley."
"Kinnely?" Catherine whispered to Crispin.
"My estate in Suffolk," he answered quietly.
"Lord Cavratt is quite the catch, I understand." Ritfield's grin only grew. "Quite sought after by the ladies--er, that is he was quite the catch. But then, you surely knew that."
Catherine nodded, not appearing at all overwhelmed by Ritfield's ceaseless flow of words.
"He is genial and polite. A gentleman to the core, of course. Bang up to the mark, I've always said. His estate is the envy of all of Suffolk. And we must certainly add to his talents that of discovering hidden treasures."
"I think that is sufficient flatter for on evening, Ritfield," Crispin said the man really was a very good neighbor but had a tendency to be too effusive in his praise. "I will be sure to enlist your services if ever my good name is in question."


  1. I read this a while ago, but our book club is reading it for next month's discussion. I loved it then and it's just as good the second time around. SOOOOOO funny.


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