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

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  2,090 ratings  ·  185 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 of 3,000)
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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
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 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
...more
Misfit
“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
...more
Caz
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
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Rose May
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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Dawn
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
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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
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Corrine
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
...more
FreeNightFalls
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
Ash
3.5 stars.
Loved the hero
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
...more
Twiggy
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
...more
Sasha
"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 fo
...more
Patacaisse
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
...more
Shannon
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
...more
Caz
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
Christy
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
...more
Megan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andreea
Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is...love story.

Well,OK, maybe I'm a romantic, but I like a book that makes me feel like being in love is the most perfect thing in the whole world, with a few bumps along the way, but still perfect. I know it's just a story, but wouldn't it be amazing if someone somewhere actually had a love like this...I mean there was a time when a marriage was done by the parents with no regard for feelings...so does it seem so unbelievable for love and romance to
...more
Cocktails and Books
Wow, this book took forever to finish. I usually can plow through a book, whether I liked it or not, but this one dragged on forever.

I loved David and could connect with him from the very beginning. The rest of the characters, not so much. In fact, it wasn't until the last 50 pages that I could even sympathize with Joycelyn.

Not much more I can say, other than I'm glad I finished it.
Gina
Like Putney's The Rake (5 stars), this book also regularly makes "best of" lists of historical romance. With The Rake as my benchmark, I had high hopes for The Bargain. Originally published in 1989 as The Would-Be Widow, Putney updated this one and re-released it as The Bargain. Its very well written, and I understand why it is considered a classic. I loved the hero, David. He is as worthy as any romance hero ever written. I hated Jocelyn. Her fickle, indecisiveness was so irritating it made par ...more
B
I think the getting-married-to-a-dying-man had me right out of the gate. I found this historical to be weighty and compelling. Also, though David was a genuinely good guy, I liked him-- a lot. That was strange because he wasn't alpha at all. He was what I'd call a stand-up guy-- someone willing to continue with annulment proceedings after he miraculously recovers even though he realizes that he in in fact in love with Jocelyn, because he wants her to be happy.

Some other reviews said that they fo
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Sarah
I had read Mary Jo Putney's other books -- her fantasy books, and hadn't liked them. So I was a little hesitant to read The Bargain, but I enjoyed it very much!
Such a sweet romance! Major David was a dedicated and romantic hero.
It's a great read for any historical lovers out there.
OhWell
The premise was interesting, the overall story, not so much. David was a decent character but Jocelyn started out as annoying and annoying she remained. Her childhood trauma did not provide sufficient explanation for her actions. Sally, David’s sister, persisted for way too long in being unpleasant. Nothing wrong with Ian Kinlock, he was quite likable, but his and Sally’s side story felt like a filler. Too much melodrama in the main thread, which wasn't helped by the rushed and hardly believable ...more
Clarke
2.7-2.9 Stars. Public library 7/18/14. I've read several of Ms. Putney's other books in her Lost Lords series and liked them so when I saw this one I grabbed it eagerly. Unfortunately I found the h lacking compared to her other books. She is far more self entered and ignorant then I care for in my h. Sally here sister-in-law was far more likable and enjoyable. Now our h aka Lady Jocelyn isn't without her redeeming qualities I just like for my characters to be more grounded in reality. As the boo ...more
penelopewanders
Looking through the reviews here on goodreads,I see this book really does not receive unanimous acclaim. I have to say I really enjoyed it. Yes, Jocelyn is quite spoiled, although all things considered, for a wealthy heiress, she takes pretty good care of her staff and their families. She is totally fair to Sally, despite an apparently instant antipathy. Her idea of getting around the stipulation in her father's will is a bit harebrained, but she seems fairly lucid about that. Likewise her cooln ...more
Teacher1209
Intriguing storyline, really enjoying it so far and trying to figure out who each character is going to end up with. Greatvstory, really liked it. A bit predictable in places but good none the less.
Lita Bouquard
To fulfill the will of her father a woman must web by age 25. She proposes marriage to a dying soldier who agrees in return for an annuity for his sister. Wow, the heroine was quite thoughtless and self absorbed and it took a loooonnnnng time to make her into a somewhat likeable character. David's sister and the Scottish doctor were much better characters. Of course the bargain goes wrong and we find that soldier David and his sibling who some horrible childhood events were much nicer humans tha ...more
Tonileg
Historical Waterloo war romance where a smart lady tries to get around the last testament inheritance rules set by her deceased father by marrying a dying soldier in a marriage of convenience, but has to deal with the consequences when the soldier suddenly heals and survives his wounds.
This is not as outlandish as it sounds for a father with a single daughter and no close family members to trust with her care, so at least he let her choose her own husband... we are talking about a misogynistic p
...more
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What's The Name o...: Historical Romance I think [s] 4 35 Dec 29, 2013 02:41AM  
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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
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More about Mary Jo Putney...

Other Books in the Series

Regency (3 books)
  • Petals in the Storm (Fallen Angels, #2; Regency, #2)
  • Angel Rogue (Fallen Angels, #4)
The Rake Thunder & Roses (Fallen Angels #1) Loving a Lost Lord (Lost Lords #1) Never Less Than a Lady (Lost Lords, #2) One Perfect Rose (Fallen Angels #7)

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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.” 13 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.” 11 likes
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