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

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  2,330 ratings  ·  195 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 (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
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
“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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
Gerry Bartlett
This reissue from the eighties held up well, with a twist on the marriage of convenience plot. Jocelyn is forced to marry before her 25th birthday or lose her inheritance. Now that's been done before, right? But things are different when she picks a dying soldier as her groom. He's happy to let her use him so that he can leave his sister with a nice settlement. They strike a bargain. Of course you knew this wasn't going to be smooth sailing. The man lives with a bit of clever surgery ahead of it ...more
This is a lovely story. Ms Putney has given us magic as she normally does.

Jocelyn must marry before her 25th birthday in order to inherit money from her father's estate. She is lusting after a duke who has no plan to ever marry, his normal conquests are experienced women. So, she comes up with a brilliant idea. She will marry a soldier who is in the hospital and near death. That way, she will appear to be an experienced woman and she feels sure she can lure her duke into a marriage.

David is the
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Well, the first thing that comes to my mind 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 does it seem so unbelievable for love and romance to
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
This book is a keeper!
When I first read the description, the book's idea sounded really cool, and after reading it, The Bargain far surpassed my expectations! I love this book. The characters are so warm and likeable, and I love the plot developments. Putney always has great psychological depth in her stories, including in this one. I also absolutely adored that the doctor (a secondary character) also had his own little romance. This book is so sweet and passionate. I just bought a paperback in
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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 36 Dec 29, 2013 02:41AM  
  • The Wedding Journey
  • The Perfect Stranger (The Merridew Sisters, #3)
  • The Temporary Wife
  • An Infamous Marriage
  • Till Next We Meet
  • Romancing the Countess (Romancing, #1)
  • Midsummer Moon
  • My Darling Caroline
  • The Devil's Love
  • An Unwilling Bride (Company of Rogues, #2)
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)
The Rake (Davenport, #2) Thunder & Roses (Fallen Angels #1) Dark Mirror (Dark Mirror, #1) Loving a Lost Lord (Lost Lords #1) Never Less Than a Lady (Lost Lords, #2)

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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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