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The Would-Be Widow
Mary Jo Putney
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The Would-Be Widow (Regency #1)

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  3,010 Ratings  ·  247 Reviews
In order to receive her family legacy, now held by her grasping Aunt Elvira, beautiful Lady Jocelyn Kendal must marry quickly, but the man she loves, the Duke of Candover, refuses to take a wife.
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published February 1st 1992 by Severn House Publishers (first published 1988)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
I couldn't stand the heroine in this book. She was a real brat. She was contemplating an affair with Rafe, Duke of Candover (the jerk hero from Petals in the Storm) while married to the hero. The poor guy survived his war wounds to come home to a wife like her. (big sneer). Not one of MJP's best. But decent, considering how much I disliked the heroine.
Lois Bujold
Jul 06, 2014 Lois Bujold rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers who like Regency romances
Recommended to Lois by: random internet mention
I enjoyed this enough to promptly go get another, despite my general preference for witty romantic comedy, of any era, over romantic melodrama. (Somebody needs to clone Jennifer Crusie.) This one definitely weighs in on the melodrama side, being a nice variant on the "convenient marriage" trope, where an heiress, in order to get control of her fortune, strikes a bargain with a dying British officer post-Waterloo. Unexpected consequences naturally ensue.

The reader coming over from other genres ne
“The marriage of convenience is a time-honored tradition, though I’ve never heard of one quite like this...But everyone benefits.”

Lady Jocelyn Kendal is running out of time. Her father's will gives her until she turns twenty-five to marry, or she's going to lose her inheritance. She's had her eye on a duke, but he doesn't seem to be the marrying kind - he prefers experienced widows to virginal misses. While at a visit to a military hospital, she meets Major David Lancaster, who is expected to di
I didn't originally give this audiobook a star rating as it was so bad I couldn't listen to it. But I've been going back over my stats for last year and this is the only thing I haven't rated, which seemed a bit odd, so I've popped back and given it one star.

I'm not giving this a rating, as the sole reason for the DNF is the narration, and I don't feel it fair to tar the book with the same brush.

I really enjoyed The Bargain when I read it a few years back, so when it cropped up on Audible last m
Rose May
Jun 19, 2011 Rose May rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: d-plus
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A (Is For Awkward)
Unlike many books I give 2 stars this one I really really liked, and wanted to like even more.

The problems in it however were many, and at times completely undermined the general story for me, which dragged my overall rating down.

Problem the first! Historical anachronisms:

Addiction was mentioned and discussed as a normal medical condition, early on in the story. The problem is from my own reading at least addiction to opium wasn't recognized as a medical condition until 100 years later. Even 50
Jacob Proffitt
A solid Regency romance with more melodrama than I'm used to. I liked both Jocelyn and David immensely, but that became part of my problem in the last third of the book or so. Well, not David so much. He was beyond dreamy from the start and never faltered, even when confused or despairing.

Jocelyn's core brokenness persisted way, way too long, however. Not that it was unrealistic, really. Her trauma was real and it was consistent and embedded deeply in her character. But it seemed like Putney had
First off: HOLY POV SWITCHING BATMAN. I almost put down this book several times as the author switches viewpoint characters mid scene (mid paragraph??) several times in the course of a chapter. And not just between the heroine and hero, but roughly six different viewpoint characters.

I picked this up as a library borrow book based on the reviews on Goodreads from the potential selection of ebooks. As per the above, the author's handling of the view point storytelling was irksome. Additionally, th
Olga Godim
Jul 16, 2015 Olga Godim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
A classic romance. The focus of this novel is on the relationship. No suspense, no mystery, just a solid story of a man and a woman finding each other. Those who dislike romances wouldn’t like it, but for those who do, it would be a pleasant journey into Regency fluff.
I won’t go into the particulars of the plot here; you know what to expect, but I’ll say that the book is written well and reads fast. Both protagonists are sympathetic if not truly alive, and the mandatory happily-ever-after arriv
Indrani Sen
Jul 29, 2016 Indrani Sen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk
I enjoyed the book. It's not a deep, meaningful, life-changing book. But a book which I was very happy to read when I was tired from my heavy reads. The book is well written with a story that moves forward well.
Lady Jocelyn Kendal is in need of a temporary husband to fulfil her father's will. Major David Lancaster is in need of financial protection for his sister, as his death seems imminent. Within minutes of meeting, they come to a suitable agreeement, but neither of them bargain on David's sister Sally and surgeon Ian Kinlock interceding. But David's health means that Jocelyn can't marry the man she intended to you, but couldn't bring up to scratch in time.

At first, I was completely prepared to dis
Jul 10, 2015 Zoe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to rate this book better because I so enjoyed reading Mary Jo Putney. Re-reading this book reminded me of fond memories of reading these relatively "older" authors, who I have loved since a young girl. One of my favorite books is her masterpiece and I remember almost every little detail in that book, which I read at least 15 years ago.

But that is not this book.

I have read The Bargain before and my feeling toward the book has remained the same. It is not a poorly written book. Not at a
The premise was cute, but it wasn’t that great of a book. The writing style was strange. There were an abundance of POV changes, to the point where it would change randomly within paragraphs. Also, it kind of felt like I was reading a summary sometimes. There was a lot of ‘so-and-so explained what had occurred’, so you never get to hear these conversations. This bothered me the most when it came to the epilogue. It felt like the author was making a checklist.

I ended up getting so annoyed with Jo
Be Fisher
Mar 06, 2017 Be Fisher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved it!
THE BARGAIN is a story of what happens when the heroine marries a soldier who is on death's door. Lady Jocelyn Kendal needs a husband, in name only, to fulfill the wishes of her father's will. Expected to die at any moment, Major David Lancaster wants to know that his younger sister will be taken care so he agrees to the arrangement. Unknown to either of them at the time, their future will change drastically.

THE BARGAIN starts out slowly. Taking place during the Regency times of Britain, Jocelyn
Belinda Kroll
I can always count on Mary Jo Putney for an entertaining read. In this book, Jocelyn has a deadline to marry by the time she turns 25, or she won't get her inheritance. Her father made the stipulation upon his death because he knew Jocelyn would never turn to marriage willingly. Something in her past just made the whole idea an inconvenience at best, repulsive at worst.

Well, now that the wars with Napoleon are over, Jocelyn comes up with a brilliant, if ethically amoral, idea. Marry a dying majo
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; ...more
3.5-ish, I'd say. I really liked the hero, who was such a sweet, honorable guy, and though at a certain point I wanted to smack the heroine, in the end I did understand her motivation in continually pushing the hero away. I could've done without the secondary romance, but it wasn't as boring and shoehorned in as the romances of minor character usually are. The plot was predictable, but all in all it was a pretty good book. Entertaining enough, and it made me want to give other Putney books a try ...more
Mar 18, 2015 Michele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this novel when I first read it. A second reading is pure magic. A little too much psychological understanding at the end but it doesn't detract from the pleasure. Not only do you meet Jocelyn and David but through David's sister Sally, you meet Ian Kinlock, a surgeon, worth knowing and following through other Putney novels.
3.5 stars.
Loved the hero
3.5 stars for this one. Easy, light, read. The biggest issue keeping David and Jocelyn from truly coming together as a couple was not revealed until the very end and I kept wondering why Jocelyn was holding back. And, of course, it was related to the often used "I'm not worthy" trope and that can get a little tiring. There is also a secondary romance involving David's sister Sally and his physician, Ian. The first half of the book Sally was an annoying smarta$$ but she had a personality transfor ...more
Elis Madison
Lady Jocelyn Kendal needs a husband. Her father left her a fortune in his will, but only if she marries before her 25th birthday. She's been flirting with the Duke of Candover, who seems a sensible kind of man, someone who would be a good husband without crossing the line and (god forbid) actually loving her. That's last thing she wants. Problem is, Candover isn't coming to the point, and time is running out.

Fate hands her an answer when she encounters Major David Lancaster in hospital. He was b
"Do not weep for me, my lady. If you remember me at all, I would rather you did with a smile."

Initial Final Page Thoughts.
Awwwwwww. I gots them warm fuzzies! Do her dirty, David!

High Points.
The era. David. Crazy doctor. Stubborn and headstrong female. Being beautiful. Being plain and still getting the guy. Kindness. getting better. Wooing. Miracles. Love.

Low Points.
Dare I say it, boarder-lined cliche. It was especially cliche near the end and I felt it was a little rushed and it felt a bit f
Kate McMurry

Review of audiobook version of this exciting Regency romance novel narrated by Emma Newman

I am posting this audiobook review using the format that Audible recommends:

Overall: 5 stars
Performance: 5 stars
Story: 5 stars

Q. If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

A. A beautiful aristocrat must wed by her 25th birthday in order to inherit a fortune under the terms of her father's will. With the deadline only days away, in desperation, she makes a mad marriage bargain with a
Apr 02, 2012 Twiggy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable with well drawn characters.

Lady Jocelyn stands to be disinherited from most of her patrimony if she does not marry prior to her 25th birthday.

Her parents went through a public and terrible divorce and this has impacted upon Jocelyn's view of herself and marriage and she has never met a man that she trusts enough to marry and she is afraid of the consequences of love or passion. As her birthday approaches, she considers a variety of different options, whilst secretly thinking that she
Marilyn Rondeau
Sep 04, 2015 Marilyn Rondeau rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, this is another take on the oft used theme of a marriage of convenience but when it is portrayed with such heartfelt emotion it takes on another dimension. Even though the original purpose was to keep her inheritance, Lady Jocelyn Kendal hadn’t made the decision lightly, or alone. While visiting an officer recuperating at the soldier’s hospital he suggested a rather morbid solution to her problem. His fellow officer Major David Lancaster, was dying from his Waterloo wounds and was uneasy a ...more
Aug 23, 2012 Patacaisse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un vrai coup de coeur pour ce roman très bien documenté. De plus, j’ai beaucoup aimé la plume de l’auteure.

L’héroïne, Jocelyn, est un personnage antipathique. Elle semble froide, égoïste et manipulatrice.
Face à elle, un héros qui pense mourir très prochainement d’une lésion aux vertèbres due à des éclats d’obus. David est courageux, a le sens de l’humour, est tendre. Bref, Swoooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.

Jocelyn décide d’épouser David pour pouvoir garder son héritage et comme celui-ci ne devrait pas fai
I really enjoyed this one. It's much more of a traditional Regency romance, with stronger characterizations and stronger secondary characters, with their own well-developed stories.

I think what I liked best about this (apart from the fact that it's a rerelease of a very good book) is that it puts a different spin on the marriage of convenience trope. It shows how such a marriage can be contracted for the very best of reasons. The hero wants to take care of his sister, and the heroine wants to k
I loved the beginning of the novel and the style of writing. I also liked the fact that the heroine Jocelyn Kendal was not a usual naive girl who was blushing every moment. She decides to marry only in order to inherit her father's estate (which would otherwise go to the second male heir). As if Primogeniture wasn't humiliating enough, we all know that females were seen merely as objects in that time. That is why I completely understood when she took upon her to marry the dying war hero David La ...more
Feb 09, 2013 Christy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-own-it-book
3.5 stars
I actually liked this book quite a lot. The premise of contracting a marriage of convenience with a dying man was intriguing and well played. The time scale seemed too compressed and there were a few unnecessary scenes, but it was quite enjoyable. I liked the antagonism between Jocelyn and Sally at the beginning. It was refreshing to see the heroine in a different, unflattering light. The secondary romance was wonderful, and though I don't generally think much of the makeover leading to
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 24, 2015 08:14AM  
What's The Name o...: Historical Romance I think [s] 4 37 Dec 29, 2013 02:41AM  
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  • Irresistible (Horsemen Trilogy, #3)
  • The Perfect Stranger (The Merridew Sisters, #3)
  • Parting Gifts
  • The Heir (Duke's Obsession, #1; Windham, #1)
  • An Infamous Marriage
  • My Darling Caroline
  • Barely A Bride (Free Fellows League, #1)
  • Midsummer Moon
She writes young adult fiction as M.J. Putney.

Mary Jo Putney was born in Upstate New York with a reading addiction, a condition for which there is no known cure. After earning degrees in English Literature and Industrial Design at Syracuse University, she did various forms of design work in California and England before inertia took over in Baltimore, Maryland, where she has lived very comfortably
More about Mary Jo Putney...

Other Books in the Series

Regency (3 books)
  • Petals in the Storm (Fallen Angels, #3; Regency, #2)
  • Angel Rogue (Fallen Angels, #4)

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“But why, she thought wryly, did a man seem more attractive as he became less available? How humbling to think one had so much in common with a cow stretching its neck through a gate for better grass.” 15 likes
“But gratitude would not have me love you as I do. Love was inspired by what you are - the good, the bad, and even the foolish, which is what you're being right now.” 14 likes
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