I really liked the premise of this book. Usually, Regency books are about powerful, wealthy lords and the women who love them. The women are usually youngish and can include destitute young women, wealthy young women, women who have been unjustly "ruined".
The premise of "The Proper Wife" is a bit different. Lord Sinjin Sandiford comes home from the war to find that his estate is broke - thru gambling debts his late father has practically bankrupted the estate. He has good lineage, a title, an excellent reputation - and no money. He must find a wealthy woman to marry. In other words, he's a fortune hunter.
This bothers him drastically but he's convinced it's the only way to save his estate. So he sets his sites on finding a wealthy merchant's daughter.
What he finds is Lady Clarissa Beaumont. Clarissa is a beauty who is currently on her 3rd Season and has yet to find a husband. She's been around London long enough to be a bit jaded - not the usual "young miss" heroine of a Regency.
She meets Sinjin and the sparks fly. They spend more than half the book bickering and yelling at each other before things get resolved.
I only gave this a two star rating because the characters weren't all that likable.
Sinjin hides behind his pride when what he should have been doing is finding out how to save his estate without being reduced to a fortune hunter. He had been advised many times to come home and fix his estates, but he chose to ignore all advice until it was too late.
Clarissa just annoyed me to no end. She rides a stallion, which would have been highly uncommon. (I once read an article by a *real* cowboy who challanged the idea of anyone riding a stallion for leisure - stallions were simply too unpredictable and difficult to manage. Since reading that article, I always find it suspect when any character chooses to ride a stallion.) Clarissa is constantly teasing Sinjin, who has problems laughing at himself. She lets herself get "dared" into doing some really stupid things - you know, because she's so independant! I was like - puh leeze, even my two year old would know better than that!
I did give the book two stars for its decent premise - a book from the point of view of the fortune hunter. I just wish the characters had been more likable and that the story had been better.
My recommendation? Save your money or buy it used.