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The Bargain [Mass Market Paperback]

Mary Jo Putney
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct 1999
Forced to wed to keep her inheritance, independent Lady Jocelyn Kendal finds an outrageous solution: she proposes marriage to Major David Lancaster, an officer dying from his Waterloo wounds. In return for making her his wife, she will provide for his governess sister. But after the bargain is struck and the marriage is made, the major makes a shocking, miraculous recovery. Though they agree to an annulment, such matters take time...time enough for David to realize he is irrevocably in love with his wife. Haunted by her past, Jocelyn refuses to trust the desire David ignites in her. She never counted on a real husband, least of all one who would entice her to be a real wife. But some bargains are made to be broken - and his skilled courtship is impossible to resist...
--This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 373 pages
  • Publisher: Signet Book; Reprint edition (Oct 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451198646
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451198648
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 10.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,353,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Mary Jo Putney graduated from Syracuse University with degrees in eighteenth-century literature and industrial design. A New York Times bestselling author, she has won numerous awards for her writing, including two Romance Writers of America RITA Awards, four consecutive Golden Leaf awards for Best Historical Romance, and the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Historical Romance. She was the keynote speaker at the 2000 National Romance Writers of America Conference. Ms. Putney lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Visit her Web site at --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
In his dream, Major David Lancaster was galloping across the Spanish hills on his horse, Aquilo, who ran with the grace of his namesake eagle. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable easy read. 2 Mar 2001
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed The Bargin. The book managed to answer questions about characters that had previously been mentioned briefly in The Fallen Angels series, namely, Lady Jocelyn Kendal from Petals in the Storm and Dr Kinlock. The story unfolds at a gentle pace, this is not a book with an action plot but one about two people who are thrown together in unusal circumstances. An army man who is dying and a Lady who desperatley needs but does not want a husband. I found the interaction between the characters entertaining, the author writes with a good understanding of Jocelyn's all to human a problem of having one man but wanting another. Certainly well worth a read but don't expect an action plot such as those in Petals in the Storm.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unforgettable story 18 Nov 2011
By Jensen
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The Bargain is a wonderful and unforgettable love story.

The characters in the story are full of witt, charm and passion. You just want to read the book again and again!

Mary Jo Putney has created another wonderfull love story - Don`t miss it ;o)
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5.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL 8 Sep 2012
By allana
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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By Caz
Format:Kindle Edition
Loved it! I thought that perhaps it could have done without the secondary romance, between Sarah and the doctor, but that's a minor point. This is the first book I've read by this author, and definitely intend to read more. The characters were well-drawn, and the hero, David, is one of those somewhat unnusual regency heroes, in that he's not a wastrel or a rake, but an all-round decent chap. He's never boring and he's got a good sense of humour - he's rather lovely, really! I liked Jocelyn too; rather than being some icy beauty, she's got a heart and a conscience, despite the fact that at the start, all she wants to do is get married to preserve her independence and have an affair with a handsome, rakish duke. The Marriage of Convenience which turns into True Love is one of my favourite tropes and the way that David and Jocelyn fall for each other is beautifully written.

A definite keeper.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.9 out of 5 stars  78 reviews
75 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No One Does It Like Mary Jo Putney 4 Nov 2002
By Kimberly Borrowdale - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
According to her father's will, Lady Jocelyn Kendal must marry by age twenty-five if she is to receive her inheritance--if she does not, her home and her fortune will go to her aunt and uncle. With only four weeks left now until her birthday, Jocelyn has no suitors that she could stand being married to her whole life that she could bring up to scratch so quickly.
Major David Lancaster was gravely wounded at Waterloo--he is paralyzed from the waist down and is dying. His main concern is for his sister, a governess, who will be left all alone after his death.
When a friend of the family mentions Major Lancaster to Lady Jocelyn, a plan springs to mind--one that might benefit her as well as the Major...
For those of you who have read Mary Jo Putney's books before, I need only assure you that THE BARGAIN is well on par with the usual incredible no-one-else-does-it-like-Putney style that we love so much. For those of you who haven't read a Mary Jo Putney novel yet, this is the perfect one to start with. That Putney style includes sympathetic characters who are not without their foibles and wounds (both outside and in); a range of emotions that are realistic, never manipulated; and such smoothness in storytelling that one easily forgets she is reading, rather than right there in Regency England.
THE BARGAIN is an expansion and rewriting of the small traditional Regency THE WOULD-BE WIDOW, first published by Signet in 1989. I had not yet read the original--I was saving it for a rainy day when I needed a guaranteed great read--and to me, THE BARGAIN contains nothing superfluous, no obviously-tacked-on subplots, no detours from the relationship between Jocelyn and David. There is a sweet secondary romance--no, make that two secondary romances--but they serve to enhance the main attraction and nev er distract. I savored all 373 pages of delving deeply into these people's minds and hearts.
Ms. Putney should be applauded not only for being a marvelous writer and craftsman, but for all the happiness she brings to millions of readers worldwide. I thank you once again, Mary Jo, not only for a glorious evening, but for all the warmth and joy your characters, their stories, and their worlds give me long after I've closed the book with a happy sigh.
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful and engrossing love story 26 April 2000
By Dr W. Richards - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is another winner from Mary Jo Putney, who is now without question my favourite Regency writer, even surpassing the excellent Balogh, Oliver and Kelly. I was a little dubious about ordering this book in the first place given the mixed reviews here, but decided to give it a chance; and I'm very glad I did.
I never read the original, shorter version of this book, but I cannot imagine wanting The Bargain to be any shorter than it is. The story flowed really well, and the characters - *all* the characters - were entertaining, well drawn, and a joy to meet. David and Jocelyn in particular were very sympathetic and their relationship was portrayed by Putney in a loving, humorous and sometimes heartwrenching manner. And we also got two other love stories on the side!
I can't see how anyone can say that there was no love developing between David and Jocelyn here. It literally flowed off the pages! It was there all along, from Jocelyn's unexpected sadness at what she'd thought was David's death, to her joy at his recovery, and then the time they spent in the country. It was blindingly obvious there that they were in love.
Another thing I enjoy about Putney's books is the use of recurring characters: in this book we meet Richard Dalton, for instance, who gets his own story in The Diabolical Baron, and also Rafe (Jocelyn's other less well-intentioned suitor) whose own story I can't wait to read.
I thoroughly recommend this book, as I've done for every other Putney I've read - and as I already did in respect of this one last week, but the review I submitted then never appeared.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great regency 14 Sep 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
If you're like me and a fan of Mary Jo Putney, be sure to grab a copy of The Bargain and devour it. The Would Be Widow released, The Bargain pays off handsomely.
In July 1815 Lady Jocelyn Kendal is in a pickle, she needs to marry within a few weeks but she has no husband she's willing to marry. Behold while visiting a friend at the hospital she is introduced to Major David Lancaster, a soldier dying from injuries he received at Waterloo. The perfect solution! Lady Jocely is in need of a husband and Major Lancaster would like to die in peace knowing his younger sister is taken care of financially. The two strike a bargain. The two marry and Lady Jocelyn will pay 500 pounds a year for life to his sister Sally. Perfect solution, except David doesn't die.
Now that Lady Jocelyn is strapped with a husband she never wanted she must find a way to get out of the marriage. Agreeing to an annulment, David must live with Jocelyn for a period of time, approximately six months. During the duration of time David falls in love with Jocelyn, but Jocelyn is afraid of loving and refuses to offer her love to him.
The Bargain was a charming story and I was thrilled to find characters from other books. Richard Dalton appears from The Diabolical Baron and one of my favorite characters Rafe, the Duke of Candover from Petals in the Storm is introduced as one of Lady Jocelyn's suitors.
If you're a lover of Regency romance, Mary Jo Putney has delivered another wonderful romance.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Love Story 22 May 2006
By Just Passing Through - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Lady Jocelyn Kendal was the only child of the fourth Earl of Cromarty. Upon his death, the earl left his daughter extremely well-provided for--with one caveat: Lady Jocelyn must be wed by her twenty-fifth birthday or the bulk of her inheritance would revert to the new earl, her uncle Willoughby.

With the deadline fast approaching, Jocelyn was still unwed. She was interested in the wealthy, urbane Duke of Candover, who also returned her interest, but not to the extent of marriage. Jocelyn decided she would enter into a marriage of convenience that would enable her to enjoy a liaison with the Duke. When visiting Richard Dalton, an old friend who had been wounded at Waterloo, Jocelyn learned of a fellow officer on his deathbed in the same army hospital as Richard was in. Jocelyn suggests marriage to the dying Major David Lancaster in order to fulfill the terms of her father's will. In return, Jocelyn will provide a lifelong income for David's sister, Sally.

The couple weds and all seems to be working according to plan until the fiercely loyal Sally intervenes. She has David moved to Jocelyn's residence, and then obtains the services of an unorthodox surgeon to treat David's injuries. Soon, David is well on the road to recovery, and Jocelyn's life has become complicated. Even as David and Jocelyn make plans to terminate their marriage, David realizes he is happy w/ the arrangement, loves Jocelyn, and is determined to woo and keep her.

David is a very attractive hero--brave, honorable, loyal, handsome. Although some of the events in his story are unrealistically serendipitous, readers are likely to overlook this as they are happy for his well-earned good fortune. Jocelyn is a little more complex, but she is also basically good, generous, and kind. Readers--and David--eventually learn of the reasons behind some of her more calculating behavior and her fixation on Candover.

Reader will also be drawn into the story of the prickly Sally. Her animosity towards Jocelyn is mostly amusing and her love for David is touching. When she sets her sights on Dr. Ian Kinlock, the surgeon who saved David, it is obvious that each is just what the other needs to complement their lives.

In addition to the wonderful love story (stories?), I was interested in the medical aspects of this story. The descriptions of the army hospital were grim enough, but I suspect were still a great deal more rosy than the actuality. Dr. Kinlock's work w/ wounded soldiers and the indigent, as well as his ideas about cleanliness, infection prevention, surgery, etc., were a change from the usual stories of ton life that most Regencies concentrate on.

Mary Jo Putney is a favorite writer of mine, so the bar is set pretty high for her books. Among the books I have read to date, she has yet to make a misstep. I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it without hesitation.

(NOTE: This book was initially published in shorter form as The Would-Be Widow in 1989. The copy of the book I have clearly notes this on the back cover, as well as in the Author's Note at the end of the book, so no one who has read/owns the earlier book should be caught by surprise. I, myself, was so interested in the story that I obtained a used copy of TWBW and hope to read it soon to make comparisons with the later, expanded story.)
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Luscious Regency - Absolutely Outstanding. 14 Oct 2002
By "noumea3" - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I would recommend The Bargain, set in England 1815, to fans of the regencies and regency historicals of Mary Balogh and Jo Beverley, that is fans of well-written, historically based, intelligent, and well-plotted regencies. The Bargain is a rewrite of the regency, The Would Be Widow, so technically I suppose it is a regency historical but the regency flavour is still strongly present (for all those Georgette Heyer fans out there). There is only one or two intimate scenes in the novel which are very delicately and subtly handled. The focus is on the growth of the relationship and the plot instead.
Lady Jocelyn must marry before her 25th birthday or lose most of her inheritance. She believes herself to be attracted to another man, who however won't come up to scratch, and it is only a few weeks before her birthday. David Lancaster is dying in hospital, from wounds received in the Battle of Waterloo, and his sister will be left without any family or money. Thus the bargain - Lady Jocelyn will receive her inheritance by marrying David, and his sister will be provided for. There is nothing callous in Lady Jocelyn's actions - she accidentally meets an officer acquaintance in the hospital for survivors of Waterloo and knowing her situation and wanting to help his friend provide for his sister, he suggests this solution. Everybody believes David will die very shortly and it would make David happy to know his sister has financial security.
However, David doesn't die and the rest of the novel explores what happens when two strangers, both perfectly nice adult people, find themselves technically married to each other in an age when divorce was practically impossible.
Mary Jo Putney's characters always seem like real people, such is the depth of her writing and like Mary Balogh, she is not afraid to tackle difficult issues. If you want intelligent, well written and strongly plotted regencies I recommend The Bargain. Her two outstanding regencies in my opinion are The Bargain and the Rake (a rewrite of the regency The Rake and The Reformer). If you want to read that series in order - The Bargain, followed by the Diabolical Baron (about the officer who suggests the bargain to Lady Jocelyn), and the Rake (which is a sequel to The Diabolical Baron). A very minor character in The Rake, Lord Randolph, gets a short story in Sunshine at Christmas (in the Mary Jo Putney 2002 Christmas anthology).
Another sequel to The Bargain is Petals In The Storm (about the Duke of Candover), which forms the second book in Mary Jo Putney's Fallen Angels series of regency historicals.
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