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The Five-Minute Marriage
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The Five-Minute Marriage

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  407 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
"Marry Me!"

That is what her cousin Gareth asked Delphie Carteret to do. It was just a make-believe ceremony, and, in exchange, Delphie's ailing mother would receive an annuity for life.

Delphie was in no position to refuse. She was already losing the struggle to support herself and her mother. But Delphie soon discovered that she was bound by law to the marriage and bound b
Paperback, 264 pages
Published February 1st 1979 by Warner Books (NY) (first published January 1st 1977)
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Rating details
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Dec 29, 2011 rated it liked it
No offense, Regency characters, but y'all need to stop getting it on with your cousins. The only relationship in this book involving unrelated persons was the old widowed folks! And all the multiple/secret/questionable marriages had me kind of confused, but weren't Fitz and Elaine related twice over? And who marries their brother's baby mama?

This was like the daytime TV of the past -- except for Aiken's tasteful prose.
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
Meh. This is a total Heyer imposter, and not a great one. The lingo and mannerisms are there, but it's missing the sparkling dialogue, subtle humor, relatable characters, and the dashing plot. I'd give it a 2.5 star rating; it'll get you through in a pinch.

I think if I'd never read Georgette Heyer's works, I would have absolutely hated Gareth Penniston and wondered why Delphie fell in love with him, but I am used to the surly hero typecast. Heyer has a knack of making them seem wholly lovable an
Rachel Brown
The blurb writer was confused; this is not a Gothic, but a regency. However, it does briefly turn into a Gothic for about ten pages toward the end, so I see how that could happen. I too struggled to categorize it, as, unsurprisingly considering the author, it's hard to categorize. It has the plot but not the substance of a romance; the heroine only displays brief flickers of romantic feelings for the hero, and they don't interact much. It's mostly a comedy with a lunatic excess of plot, about ha ...more
This is a delightfully frothy Regency: witty and full of memorable characters: the heroine, Delphie, a sensible but charming music teacher; her slightly feckless mother, whose illness forces Delphie to contact her long-lost relatives, thus setting the plot in motion; and Gareth Penistone, the hero, with whom Delphie contracts a marriage which is meant to be a sham but turns out to be more real than they thought.
Nov 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: regency-era, romance
I loved everything about it. The mystery: who is trying to poison/kill Delphie, Gareth, and or Mrs. Carteret. Is Elaine really a cousin of anyone? The premise of this wonderful daughter, Philadelphia (Delphia for short) giving music lessons and singing to support her ill mother and herself is sweet. Dealing with what seems to be dementia and other illness in a parent is a challenge and I love what Delphie says and just thinks in regards to her mother's whims. A temporary caregiver is especially ...more
Apr 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-fiction
I read this as a teenager and loved it. I have searched every public library recently with the hopes of finding it to reread. The second time was just as good as the first, if not better! As cheesy as the cover is, don't be fooled by a book's exterior. I love the characters--I know them better than I know myself! Joan Aiken is a brilliant writer! This just fueled my desire to find the rest of her books!
Oct 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
I would expect a regency romance to be frothy, but while this one had some amusing and pleasing moments, it was just over the top silly.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Fast read, fun story. Although the ending was a bit convoluted and over the top (not to be unexpected considering the genre).
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The romance could have been a little more romantic, but otherwise this is highly entertaining.
Sarah McC
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In this story, our intrepid heroine has fallen on hard times. She and her widowed mother live in reduced circumstances in Regency England, because her mother was cut off from her family when she married. But with her mother’s health ever failing, Delphie finally sets aside her pride to visit her uncle in his country manor. When she arrives, Delphie finds herself backed into a corner, and given the option of either receiving nothing or receiving and annuity for her mother–provided she participate ...more
Sep 11, 2008 rated it liked it
This is my all-time favorite regency romance novel.

I read somewhere that Joan Aiken (who also wrote fabulous juvenile fiction) penned "The Five Minute Marriage" as a send-up of the regencies of Georgette Heyer and the like, so it is somewhat ironic that this book, which reads rather straight, should be my favorite of the genre.

Today, I finally received my copy of this out-of-print gem from a rare-bookseller in NC. Even though I haven't read this book in over a decade, I still remember the roof
Jan 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-loan
I really liked this clean romance. The story was original and I loved watching the relationship develop between our MCs. It started out a little slow but it was a great book.
Delphie Cateret is barely making ends meet teaching music. Her mother is incredibly sick and doesn't seem to fully understand why Delphie's situation is so different from her own (having married someone deemed "unsuitable," Delphie's mother came down in the world.)
Delphie finally works up the courage to go ask her mother's family for some mother so they can live more comfortable (very unselfish request, it's so her mother can get better). Through a series of mishaps, she ends up "married" to her
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating maybe even 4.5.

This is a great, old (published long ago), clean, regency romance. The stuffy language was great to read! The writing was great and the story involved me from the get-go and kept me interested. The characters were great. I loved the kids in this one.

This was kind of like a play, but not fully a farce and definitely not the high farce of Georgette Heyer but it was surely intended to be Heyer-esque. This was *smile* humorous at moments and not *lol* humorous.

I will have to
Lorraine Anton
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Delphi Cateret and her mother are barely making ends meet. She teaches music to students and travels all over to try to support her sick mother.
Gareth is supposedly some sort of cousin.
He had to get married fast to inherit,he proposed it so she can pay off some her expenses. It was to be a fake wedding.
There are twists and turns in the story.
Then things gets interesting
It was to Clean- it was a clean Romance.
It was a HEA at least.
Actually I did not know if I was going to finish at the sta
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Was familiar with Aiken from her children's books, but hadn't realized she also wrote Regencies for adults. This one is filled with good writing, fun secondary characters, a strong female lead, and some pretty obvious baddies. The romance is pretty understated; we don't have a hint that our two protagonists even like each other until the big "I love you" declarations at book's end, in part because we're restricted to Delphie's POV. Fun, but not a book for those looking for big feels.
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was one of those books that you finish because you want to know what happened at the end. I’m not sure why didn’t connect with this book. Nothing really seem to resonate with me. The writing was OK, the characters were OK, but for some reason I just wasn’t able to get there.
Mindy Kay
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a fun story!

It reminds me of the more madcap Heyers, but with a dash of Gothic treachery. Sinister cousins, mistaken identities, fake marriages, prison escapes, and brushes with death. A nice little comforting and amusing read for a rainy afternoon!
Jul 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Rather hilarious romp of a romance; sketched but not overwritten. A fun read that I finished before lunch.
Carol Miller
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
It's a historical romance, but almost in the style of the Wolves Chronicles. I wouldn't have been surprised if Dido Twite turned up. Very enjoyable.
Feb 12, 2018 rated it did not like it
did not finish. a nightmarish slog of boring characters who spend no time with each other.
Mar 05, 2018 rated it liked it
A cute sort of deathbed marriage scenario
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: romance
enjoyable story
Feb 10, 2008 rated it liked it
I have always been a fan of any story involving fake marriages, marriages of strangers, etc. This was a fun story with lots of unique characters and situations. A young voice teacher in Regency England decides to seek out her mother's estranged wealthy relatives when her mother falls dangerously ill and Delphie is worried about being able to afford care for her. Through the help of well-intentioned friends, she finds herself at her ancestral home only to find an impostor has assumed her identity ...more
Christine Honsinger
A charming story of suspense and intrigue in Regency England, this is probably my favorite Joan Aiken novel read to date. What I find so interesting about reading her books is that they do not feel like "make-believe"...they have a very realistic and truthful component which results in an "anything can happen" anticipation of the outcome. While many other gothic suspense romantic novels require the reader to temporarily "suspend belief", Aiken tells stories that could very well have happened...a ...more
Jan 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this in 1995, but had entirely forgotten the plot, even at the most exciting points, when I re-read it recently.

It's a historical romance/thriller, a bit like those of Jane Aiken Hodge (who was Joan Aiken's sister) or Mary stewart. It features Delphie Carteret, a young woman who teaches private music lessons in order to keep her rather frail mother and herself. She decides to appeal to some wealthy relatives for an allowance, and ends up agreeing to something which she later regrets
Carrie Daws
Mar 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
Overall this was a delightful book. While the writing style and, what I'm assuming is the language of the time period, made me stumble at times, the characters were interesting. The author put in plenty of believable twists and included a happy ending. The storyline includes LOTS of crazy family history which sometimes got confusing, but only formed the overall picture of why this family was the way it was, so I didn't have to focus on getting all the people right in order to follow the main plo ...more
Feb 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is the first adult Joan Aiken book I've read all the way thru. (I've read many many of her children's books.) I was worried it would be a difficult book with a lot of tragedy in it, as the only other adult book by Joan Aiken I had tried reading was tragic and too emotionally gruelling for me so I didn't finish it. I don't remember what it was called. But this one has a happy ending, and is even somewhat cliche, but I didn't mind that. I really enjoyed it and got into it and identified with ...more
Jan 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: regency, romance, 2010
I got The Five-Minute Marriage from PaperbackSwap because I remembered having enjoyed it when I read it in high school. And it seemed like it might be good plane reading for my trip to Italy. It WAS good plane reading, except that I finished it too quickly. It's not a long book – just a fairly straightforward, light, regency romance in Heyer style. Joan Aiken, the author, adds her own brand of humorous shenanigans and over-the-top villainy. Which is fine with me. Just really fun reading.
Michelle Ule
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
The Five Minute Marriage was lauded in Publisher's Weekly as a 1978 book that will be reissued in 2017.

It reads like a 1978 Regency--and Joan Aiken's writing at the time does not hold up well today. One can only hope the book has been reedited for modern sensibilities.

As to the story--as silly as it can get, but enjoyable on a gloomy day.
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Joan Aiken was a much loved English writer who received the MBE for services to Children's Literature. Her most famous classic, THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE has been in print for over 50 years with a new AUDIO recorded by her daughter Lizza. She was known as a writer of wild fantasy, Gothic novels and unforgettable short stories.
NEW COLLECTION 2016 - The People in The Castle https://www.goodread
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