THE WEDDING BARGAIN by Victoria Alexander
AVON - December 1999
ISBN: 0380806290 - Paperback
Regency, England 1818

Reviewed by Erina Hsu,
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Pandora Effington is the ton's most scandalous beauty and after seven seasons, she's finally decided to marry. But while the entire male population of 1818 London desires her hand in marriage, their proposals leave her unsatisfied. What Pandora truly wishes for is true love, like that between her parents. If she can't find true love, she's vowed never to marry. Meanwhile, Maximillian Wells, the Earl of Trent, has been admiring Pandora and decides she's the wife he wants. Pandora, however, wants to make sure Maximillian is the kind of man she really wants - a true hero. So she devises a wedding bargain: she'll marry Max if he passes a simple test. All Max has to do is complete the Twelve Labors of Hercules, which include retrieving the golden apples of the Hesperides and defeating the lion of Nemea. Soon their bargain is the talk of the ton and everyone is waiting to see who emerges the victor. While Max's challenges seem impossible at first, he slowly and whole-heartedly begins to conquer the tasks in some rather ingenious ways. Meanwhile, Pandora and Max slowly begin to fall in love, but neither wish to admit defeat by breaking the bargain.

This creative plot is whimsical and told like a fairy-tale. Alexander writes passages that manage to be witty, humorous, and refreshing. The plot also allows for Max and Pandora to spend much of the book together, and their lively interactions are a delight to observe. Readers who enjoy romances during which the hero and heroine have a lot of interaction will have a great time seeing Max and Pandora fall in love. This tale is a wonderful read that will perk you up with charming dialogue and intricate characters. Kick back, lounge in the sun, and enjoy Max and Pandora's story of true love.

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