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To Wed a Stranger [Hardcover]

Edith Layton
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: San Val (Mar 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1417700777
  • ISBN-13: 978-1417700776
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Synopsis

After unexpectedly agreeing to marry a stranger, a gentleman of her father's choosing, Lady Annabelle, the toast of London society, finds herself increasingly drawn to her passionate new husband, Miles Croft, Viscount Pelham. Original. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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"I do," she said, and only then allowed herself to wonder what she'd done. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Lady Annabelle Wylde, beautiful but capricious, is getting desperate. The man she'd loved all her life married someone else a couple of years ago, and the men she'd turned to after losing Damon have all abandoned her for other women - though she's self-critical enough to admit that at least some of it is her own fault. So when her father brings her a proposal of marriage from a man she has never met, she's just desperate enough to escape the whispers to accept.
Miles Croft, recently returned from the wars and sold out of the army, needs a wife. Money isn't an issue; what he needs most of all is someone who has a secure position in Society, so that she can launch his younger sister Camille and provide a steady influence for his younger brother. His mother, cowed by her second husband, has neither the confidence nor the influence to help - so his choice of wife is crucial. Lady Annabelle appears to fit the bill in every respect.
So a marriage of convenience, entered into not because either character even likes the other. Annabelle, on her wedding night, is shocked to discover that her husband actually intends to consummate the marriage *now* rather than waiting until she feels ready to do so - and, although the act is mildly pleasurable for her, the pain she feels doesn't recommend lovemaking very much to her.
But then, the very next day, as they journey to Miles' holiday home in Devon, Annabelle is taken ill. She has influenza, and is very badly affected, almost dying. A quack doctor has her head shorn and cuts and bleeds her; that, combined with an alarming degree of weight loss, robs her of her good looks and turns her in appearance into a skeletal, bald, pock-marked child.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a book of love and redemption 23 May 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Edith Layton's books are always well worth a read and this one is no exception. It's a marriage of convenience story, but is lifted above its type by well drawn characters and an appealing redemption for Annabelle. In a previous books, she was a selfish, unlikeable person, but here, illness destroys her looks and she has to find out who she really is without her beauty. Miles, her husband, stays by her throughout and their growing attachment is what lies at the heart of the book. A good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable read 5 Aug 2009
By Angela
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It was so sweet how the love of Miles and Belle developed. It surely gives you a fullfiling sense in the end.
Also as this is my first book to read by Edith Layton, I must say, she is a really good writer. She describes well with enough details. Does not become repetitive with certain phrases/words. However, at some points I had to read twice in order to understand what she was saying. Sometimes you felt like you are missing some inside joke, as if it should be universally known.
But as I said, a great book with a nice storyline.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a satisfying and terrific read 26 Feb 2003
By tregatt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've been dying to read Lady Annabelle Wylde's story ever since I read "The Chance." Somehow, even though Lady Annabelle was an incredibly spoilt flirt in that story and very obviously the character we were all supposed to dislike and despise, she still managed to capture all my attention and my sympathy. So that I was quite ecstatic to realise that "To Wed A Stranger" featured Lady Annabelle as a heroine. Was it worth the wait? I, definitely thought so.
After having literally thrown herself at three different men over the past few London Seasons only to have them marry elsewhere, Lady Annabelle Wylde has become the focal point of some rather unpleasant gossip. So that when her father arranges a marriage for her with Miles Croft, Viscount Pelham, she reluctantly agrees to the union. Having given up on the notion that she'll ever marry for love, what else can she do save agree to an arranged marriage?
Miles Croft needs a socially prominent and accepted wife to help him repair his family's reputation which his scoundrel of a stepfather had destroyed quite thoroughly before he died. And after having noticed how Lady Annabelle carried herself and dealt with the ton in spite of all the unkind gossip, he's sure that she is the one who can help him do this. Of course there is the added bonus that Lady Annabelle also happens to be incredibly beautiful as well. And Miles is sure that this arrangement will work very well. Until everything goes terribly wrong during their wedding journey, when Lady Annabelle falls dangerously ill and looses most of her spectacular looks. Now, Miles is irrevocably tied to stranger he barely knows and has little in common with. Can he still look to Lady Annabelle to help him with his family now that she has lost her looks? And can this marriage really work given that he's not in love with his wife and is no longer attracted to her?
Ever since she was old enough to attend social functions, Lady Annabelle has used her beauty to prop herself up and to get what she wants. But now that she's no longer to spectacular Lady Annabelle, she's had to readjust her idea of who and what she is, and how Miles fits into everything. And the one thing she's come to realise is that there is a lot more to her than just her beauty. But can she get Miles to see this? For Lady Annabelle is beginning to realise that she may be falling in love with her kind and patient husband. But what of his feelings for her? Has Lady Annabelle lost her heart again to someone who doesn't return her feelings?
If you're looking for something that has nothing to do with the usual -- heroine at risk of her life subplot, or the spies and murderers that lurk in the bushes and drawing rooms subplot, or even the rakish hero pursuing/seducing innocent feisty heroine subplot -- then "To Wed A Stranger" would definitely do. It's a romance novel all about the relationship and love that develops and blossoms between two strangers who just happen to be married to each other. It's also about how a young woman who has always used her beauty to get her own way, now adjusts to the knowledge that she has, temporarily as least lost some of those looks, and resolves to be more than just a pretty face. This book is a really good example of Edith Layton's writing at her best, and gives one an inkling as to why so many consider her to be one of the best Regency-era romance novelists around. I liked how she developed the characters in this book, and how she allowed the novel to unfold in a smooth and even pace. True the ending was a bit rushed. I would have preferred a little bit more of a resolution to the subplot dealing with Miles' mother. And it would have been nice if Lady Annabelle's mother had been featured a lot more -- that would have made it a 10 star book for me! On the whole though, if you're looking for a good read that is a little more character driven and that is not the usual, "To Wed A Stranger" should definitely satisfy.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK marriage of convenience with a twist 24 Jun 2003
By baltimore0502 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Lady Annabelle Wylde is touted to be the most beautiful woman in London. So why is she still single well into her twenties? Because beautiful as she is, every man she has ever seriously pursued wound up loving someone else - despite all her machinations. She's tried unsuccessfully to find love, but neither will she be pitied by the ton and wind up a spinster. So when her father proposes an arranged marriage to stranger Miles Croft, she agrees. He's handsome and wealthy and amiable enough, so why not?
Miles Croft, Viscount Pelham, is taken with her beauty, grace and moxie. He needs to reestablish his family in society after his mother's disastrous second marriage nearly ruined them all. Oh yes, Lady Annabelle will do just perfectly - grace, beauty, charm and sterling family name - not to mention that he wants her as well.
Well, the best laid plans . . . unfortunately, Annabelle becomes seriously ill on the honeymoon and emerges a shadow of her former self. Though Miles is at her side every step of the way during her long convalescence, she wonders if it's just pity or the polite concern any kind man would show his wife. And when Annabelle finally heals and makes her triumphant return to society Miles wonders with sadness if she no longer needs him. But why should either care? Wasn't this a marriage of convenience?
Since this is my first Edith Layton book, I obviously was not familiar with Annabelle's character. She's apparently played key roles in prior books as something of a manipulative flirt. As a result, I found I had very little emotional investment in her until a third of the way into this book. Same with Miles - he's the ultimate nice guy and thoroughly likeable, but I wasn't mad for him. Their relationship lacked that emotional spark coming across as more friendship than passionate romance to me. And I found the blackmail subplot tedious. I did, however, feel for her after losing her looks, dealing with a difficult and slow convalescence and the humiliation of appearing in public again while not looking her best. She definitely had strength and courage and Miles was sweetly supportive. Rather than the blackmail bit, I'd rather have seen more time spent on building the relationship of the leads and even would have liked to see more of Miles' sister Camille and Eric Ford (but perhaps they're getting their own story). This story had potential, but ultimately is just an OK read.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Annabelle Redeemed ! 28 Feb 2003
By "davislnd" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I didn't think it could be done ,really this was one character we all truly loved to hate and I for one was NOT looking forward to having any sympathy for her...And I knew I would.. because Ms.Layton draws the reader into these things.So I bought the book and let it set for a few days pondering. I didn't want to like it.But I love Ms. Laytons style of writing so I convinced myself that was why I was going to read it,not about Annabelle!!
I won't really describe the tale told cuz I hate it when some one spoils the story for me ,I will say to all the fans of this great author that this is well worth reading and just as endearing as her other storys have been.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read 20 Mar 2003
By G. Greene - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I consider Layton one of the best Regency writers around and I'll buy anything with her name on it. She is very accomplished; reading anything she writes is always a pleasure, and this book is no exception.
However, I do have a few quibbles with this book. Even though I've read the predecessor books in this series, it would have been more effective if she had shown Annabelle in all her glory and up to her devious tricks, instead of just telling the reader about them. Yes, this was very effectively done in the previous novels, but I believe each book needs to stand on its own and not assume the reader is familiar with prior work.
Also, while I thought that the psychological and relationship development of the protagonists was excellent, I would still have preferred to see a little more of the plot and action at which Layton excels.
These are minor complaints; this book is still well worth your time and money.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice treatment of effects of serious illness 10 Oct 2004
By Ebony/Ivory - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I just finished reading this book, and agree with some of the other reviews that this is a very "talky" novel. However, I enjoyed the author's tackling the subject of the effects of serious illness on both the patient and the spouse. I have recently read a newspaper interview of the husband of a women battling breast cancer. His experiences seemed to mirror those of Miles...including how to give your wife the (sexual) comfort and reassurance that she needs that she is still attractive to you, when she is so sick and physically changed that it just seems wrong to think about her in that way!

I also liked her depiction of Annabelle's reaction to her vanished good looks. I had never really thought about what it would be like for a beautiful woman to experience the effects of chemotherapy, for instance. It is hard for all women, but how much more for a woman who defined herself soley by her appearance! I was impressed that Annabelle was able to eventually overcome her despair to start building a life with a new foundation of self-worth.
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