Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: Jason stood mesmerized as her breasts moved up and down. All that creamy skin covering those enticing globes had reduced him to a randy youth. He placed her hand on his arm. Just before they reached the others, he murmured. “Do not take any more deep breathes tonight.”
When Jason Coventry, The Earl of Coventry, discovers his father is still trying to ruin his life from the grave by arranging his marriage and demanding he either go through with it or he loses his title; Jason rebels and arrives at his ceremony foxed and incoherent. After the ceremony, where he manages to make a complete arse of himself and humiliate his bride, he passes out and wakes up only to take the coward’s way out by running back to London without ever speaking a word to his bride. He knows he behaved terribly but he consoles himself that it wasn’t what he wanted and he will give his bride time to calm down, then head back to their country estate to talk to her.
Lady Olivia Jane Grant was also blindsided by the arranged marriage but managed to hold herself to a higher standard than Jason. She is devastated by his treatment of her and decides to travel to London to visit a friend. Once Lady Olivia arrives in London, she is dismayed that no one knows she and Jason are married and he is carrying on as though he is still a single man. Olivia decides enough is enough and proceeds, with the help of her best friend, to have the season she was denied by this marriage. Getting to send all the bills to Jason is just an added bonus.
Jason isn’t quite done with his humiliation of Olivia though. When she and Jason finally come upon each other at an event, she realises he has no idea who she is. He doesn’t even remember what she looks like and now he is flirting with her, trying to arrange an annulment. Olivia decides to repay him for his treatment of her and spends her nights flirting with him, leading him on with no intention of ever letting him know who she really is. When fate intervenes and Jason discovers Olivia is actually his wife, he floored by how much he actually likes her. He tries to entice her into accepting the marriage and him, however, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Olivia has no intentions of ever accepting Jason…no matter how much her heart wants him.
The Elusive Wife is a cute, romantic, and humorous Regency romance that centers around a clueless Earl whose realizes, a little too late, his mistake in callously disregarding his wife right after the ceremony and his wife who’s not going to be placated easily. Well written with a smooth storyline, engaging characters, and witty dialogue that will have you giggling as you watch these two go in a non violent version of War of the Roses.
I adored Olivia and Jason. Both are lively individuals with a quick wit and strong convictions who are well matched despite their tremulous beginnings. I loved how Olivia choose not to become a watering pot and wring her hands over her fate. She took her life into her own hands and her actions are cause for lots of laughs and fist pumping. Watching her spar with Jason is hilarious. She is no simpering miss. Jason, though a total arse in the beginning, does grow on you as you learn his back story which explains why he acted like he did. It doesn’t excuse his actions and neither does he, but is does soothe your anger towards him. What I really enjoyed with this couple is Jason could have easily made Olivia accept being his wife by force and he choose not to. He swallowed his pride and did what he should have done from the beginning. He wooed her. Courted her. Got to know her better. Once he realized what a beautiful, exciting, and intelligent wife he had, the battle to win her heart was on. Watching his jealously rear it’s head as he discovers others find his wife as attractive as he does is quite amusing.
“Are you feeling a bit chilled tonight, Lady Coventry?”
“Indeed not my Lord, why would you ask?”
“Because a great deal of your skin is showing, and I tremble to think you may catch a lung fever.”
“I assure you my lord, my gown is the height of fashion, and the neckline is no lower than any other women here tonight.
“Every other women is not my wife and I take exception to Carstairs practically falling into your bosom.”
The lack of “insta-love” was also well done. Neither of them knew each other well and Hutton takes great pains in allowing them to each come to terms with their feelings at their own rate. Though there is a bit of a conflict towards the end that felt out of place in the story, it didn’t take away from my enjoyment in the least. The Elusive Wife is an enjoyable historical romance about a marriage of convenience and the rocky, laughter filled journey our heroine and hero take as they struggle to find their way to love and their happily ever after.
Overall Rating: B