The Bargain

Forced to wed to keep her inheritance, independent Lady Jocelyn Kendal finds an outrageous solution: she proposes marriage to Major David Lancaster, an officer dying from his Waterloo wounds. In return for making her his wife, she will provide for his governess sister. But after the bargain is struck and the marriage is made, the major makes a shocking, miraculous recovery. Though they agree to an annulment, such matters take time…time enough for David to realize he is irrevocably in love with his wife. Haunted by her past, Jocelyn refuses to trust the desire David ignites in her. She never counted on a real husband, least of all one who would entice her to be a real wife. But some bargains are made to be broken – and his skilled courtship is impossible to resist…

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2 Responses to “The Bargain”

  • Dr W. Richards "wmr-uk" says:
    32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    A beautiful and engrossing love story, April 26, 2000
    Dr W. Richards “wmr-uk” (Canada) –

    This is another winner from Mary Jo Putney, who is now without question my favourite Regency writer, even surpassing the excellent Balogh, Oliver and Kelly. I was a little dubious about ordering this book in the first place given the mixed reviews here, but decided to give it a chance; and I’m very glad I did.

    I never read the original, shorter version of this book, but I cannot imagine wanting The Bargain to be any shorter than it is. The story flowed really well, and the characters – *all* the characters – were entertaining, well drawn, and a joy to meet. David and Jocelyn in particular were very sympathetic and their relationship was portrayed by Putney in a loving, humorous and sometimes heartwrenching manner. And we also got two other love stories on the side!

    I can’t see how anyone can say that there was no love developing between David and Jocelyn here. It literally flowed off the pages! It was there all along, from Jocelyn’s unexpected sadness at what she’d thought was David’s death, to her joy at his recovery, and then the time they spent in the country. It was blindingly obvious there that they were in love.

    Another thing I enjoy about Putney’s books is the use of recurring characters: in this book we meet Richard Dalton, for instance, who gets his own story in The Diabolical Baron, and also Rafe (Jocelyn’s other less well-intentioned suitor) whose own story I can’t wait to read.

    I thoroughly recommend this book, as I’ve done for every other Putney I’ve read – and as I already did in respect of this one last week, but the review I submitted then never appeared.

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  • Kimberly Borrowdale says:
    64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    No One Does It Like Mary Jo Putney, November 4, 2002
    Kimberly Borrowdale (Oregon USA) –

    According to her father’s will, Lady Jocelyn Kendal must marry by age twenty-five if she is to receive her inheritance–if she does not, her home and her fortune will go to her aunt and uncle. With only four weeks left now until her birthday, Jocelyn has no suitors that she could stand being married to her whole life that she could bring up to scratch so quickly.

    Major David Lancaster was gravely wounded at Waterloo–he is paralyzed from the waist down and is dying. His main concern is for his sister, a governess, who will be left all alone after his death.

    When a friend of the family mentions Major Lancaster to Lady Jocelyn, a plan springs to mind–one that might benefit her as well as the Major…

    For those of you who have read Mary Jo Putney’s books before, I need only assure you that THE BARGAIN is well on par with the usual incredible no-one-else-does-it-like-Putney style that we love so much. For those of you who haven’t read a Mary Jo Putney novel yet, this is the perfect one to start with. That Putney style includes sympathetic characters who are not without their foibles and wounds (both outside and in); a range of emotions that are realistic, never manipulated; and such smoothness in storytelling that one easily forgets she is reading, rather than right there in Regency England.

    THE BARGAIN is an expansion and rewriting of the small traditional Regency THE WOULD-BE WIDOW, first published by Signet in 1989. I had not yet read the original–I was saving it for a rainy day when I needed a guaranteed great read–and to me, THE BARGAIN contains nothing superfluous, no obviously-tacked-on subplots, no detours from the relationship between Jocelyn and David. There is a sweet secondary romance–no, make that two secondary romances–but they serve to enhance the main attraction and nev er distract. I savored all 373 pages of delving deeply into these people’s minds and hearts.

    Ms. Putney should be applauded not only for being a marvelous writer and craftsman, but for all the happiness she brings to millions of readers worldwide. I thank you once again, Mary Jo, not only for a glorious evening, but for all the warmth and joy your characters, their stories, and their worlds give me long after I’ve closed the book with a happy sigh.

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