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The Husband Hunt
by Lynsay Sands
(Avon, $7.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-006-196310-0
**
As I look at TRR reviews of Lynsay Sands, we find a mixed bag from one heart to four. That is an apt description of how this reader felt about The Husband Hunt. One similarity from her previous books seems to be her strong characters and humor throughout the book. That is true of this book. Another similarity seems to be a lack of depth in secondary characters and in many plot lines in the tale; that too was true of this story. I liked the book more when reading it but as I was writing the review, it was hard to see if the positives outweighed the negatives.

This is the third book about the Madison sisters. Not having read the other two, the plot seems to start in the middle and yet, by the third chapter, most of the back story had been filled in. Lisa Madison is the youngest sister and her long time neighbor Robert Maitland, Lord Langley (and heir to a Dukedom), has always been the love of her life. Yet he is a bit older and has always seen Lisa as a young girl who has a crush. He is amazed at how much she has grown and how much of a woman she is now.

He discovers this when he rescues her from an apparent kidnapping. He finds her at a brothel, scantily clad, drugged and waiting for "a suitor," who has paid the Madame plenty of money to hold her and allow her ravishment, which will supposedly be followed by a wedding. Robert brings her home to her two brother-in-laws. He is convinced they need to provide continual protection until the Bow Street Runner can discover the identify of this so-called gentleman suitor. Richard and Daniel, who have had adventures of their own when courting her sisters, realize that Robert and Lisa are meant to be together. Yet, as friends of Robert, they realize he has an unhealthy view of marriage, thanks to his parents' dysfunctional relationship. They connive to have Robert be Lisa's full time protector, with hopes that it will lead to marriage.

That convoluted thinking in the heart of the ton is silly and seems really unrealistic. But if one gets by that, then the two characters' antics will engage you in their romance. They love, hate, fight, banter and argue their way through a romance that is ultimately meant to be. They also have to fight several more attempts to kidnap Lisa. The villain is easily guessed by the reader, even if it takes the characters a bit longer to find him.

Lisa is at times, smart and cunning and at other times, young and totally unthinking. She gets herself into many scrapes, either by her impulse actions or her uncontrollable mouth. Yet, she is perfect for Robert when their passion erupts. Robert meanwhile is a thoughtful hero. He is a gentleman and is uneasy about the change in his feeling for Lisa. He is truly heroic, even if he is slow to see through his friends' machinations on his behalf.

The villain is nasty and his motives are tied into the other two tales about the sisters. This seemed just a bit farfetched, when one considers the length of time he has been planning his plot and the fact that Lisa really had nothing to do with any of the previous plotlines.

The Husband Hunt is pure Lynsay Sands...or some that might be great, and for others that may not be. The choice is yours.

--Shirley Lyons


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