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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Most Improper Miss Sophie Valentine by Jayne Fresina

The Most Improper Miss Sophie Valentine by Jayne Fresina
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (373 pgs)
Heat Level spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

"Wanted: one husband, not too particular. Small dowry, several books, sundry furnishings, and elderly aunt included. Idlers, time-wasters, and gentleman with other attachments need not apply."—Miss Sophie Valentine


Sophie Valentine knew placing an ad for a husband in the Farmers Gazette would bring her trouble-and she was right. When the darkly handsome, arrogantly charming Lazarus Kane shows up on her doorstep, the nosy residents of Sydney Dovedale are thrown into a gossiping tizzy. After all, it's common knowledge that Sophie is a young lady In Need of Firmer Direction. But even Sophie isn't so scandalous as to marry a complete stranger. .. is she?


Lazarus Kane has been searching for Sophie half of his life. She may not remember him, but he could never forget her. But the past is a dangerous thing, and it's best if his remains secret if he wants to tempt Sophie with ...


Sophie has always been a bit impetuous and full of the devil. She’s tried to act properly, but it never lasts. And now she’s almost thirty and still unattached.

Ms. Fresina’s story follows the habits of men back in this era. A woman can make no decisions on her own; she either lives with a husband or a married relative. She owns no property. The author makes her main character, Sophia, a woman who will not be controlled and who fights against her female constraints. She cares not what Henry, her brother says. Half the time when she acts out inappropriately it’s in retaliation for the way she’s treated in Henry’s household. That’s why she wrote the advertisement for the paper.

One of my favorite parts of the book is in regards to the ad Sophie places. This was a really clever plot ploy that worked out well for the characters. A portion of the ad is mentioned in the blurb. After you read it I think you'll see why Sophie is considered improper.

Not only does the author bring Sophie a suitor from her advertisement, Ms. Fresina adds in her old beau from earlier days. This effectively adds conflict because the village and brother think she should marry her old beau. Sophie is trying to decide which suitor would be the right choice for her and gossip runs rampant as the two suitors face off.

This is a busy story that flows well and shows the challenges of the time to marry for love. Money and property were the driving factors then, and women were supposed to do what they were told. I was never very good at that and neither was Sophie so it was easy for me to relate to her and made me empathetic with her problems. There is a little intrigue in the story, too, because Lazarus Kane has come out of nowhere and has no family. His background is interesting and adds another element of tension to a good love story.

Why not get yourself a copy, travel back to the past and watch Sophie fight for what she wants? It’s well worth the read.