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The Bridal Quest, by Candace Camp

After her father's death, Lady Irene Wyngate vowed she would never marry.  Her alcoholic father terrorized her family while she was growing up, and Irene determined she would rather remain a spinster than to put herself at the mercy of a man, even if that meant enduring the whims and self importance of her brother's wife, Maura.  Fate, and Gideon, the Earl of Radbourne, however, have something other in mind.
Gideon, who had been kidnapped as a child, survived on the streets of London never knowing his good breeding.  His uncle, the Duke of Rochford, manages to find him, Gideon no longer a child, but a grown man and successful businessman.  Of course, the 'ton' hesitates to accept him, as he lacks the refinement they deem appropriate, but Gideon's Aunt Odelia believes everything will be remedied once Gideon marries well.  She enlists the help of successful matchmaker Lady Francesca Haughston, who allays with Gideon in his quest to woo the resistant Lady Irene, believing in the power of love to conquer the nightmare of the Lady's childhood.
Camp adds additional interest to her story by conjuring the mysterious events of Gideon's abduction amid his difficult adjustment to life as the new earl.  Lady Irene is a delightful female character, not something fellow broads hear me say often.  The author gives her intelligence, common sense, and a great wit, writing superior dialogue in the exchanges between well written characters.  Her heroine remains constant throughout the novel in her convictions, and it was wholly appreciated by this reader.  The supporting characters played integral roles in Camp's story, their personalities able to shine without stealing the spotlight.  Focusing on romance rather than sex, Candace Camp creates delicious tension as Gideon and Irene interact with one another;  their obvious attraction suppressed beneath heated verbal sparring and increased by watchful observations.
The Bridal Quest, is the first novel by Camp this broad has read, and I will describe it as absolutely wonderful!  It is sure to please a broad looking for a great romance.

~Moira
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