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The Marriage Lesson (Effington Family & Friends) Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bubbling with both humor and romantic tension from the hero and heroine's first encounter to their final embrace, this cunning tale of an adventure-seeking bluestocking and the "respectable rake" who tries to curb her activities will put satisfied sparkles in the eyes of romance readers. When a trio of sisters, related to Lord Helmsley through marriage, descends on his house for their first London season, Helmsley is confident he can marry them off quickly and return to his own pursuits. But the eldest sister, Marianne, wants to "experience life" and undertake exotic adventures without the hindrance of a stuffy husband. To attain financial independence, she pens anonymous, "absolutely true" newspaper stories about a na‹ve miss and her Heathcliff-like guardian. Adding spice to her column, Marianne proposes that Helmsley teach her about kissing and such before she turns to another man for lessons. Helmsley not so reluctantly agrees, but when he feels he's obligated to propose marriage, Marianne turns him down flat. A delightful battle of wits ensues as Marianne attempts to reconcile her desire for adventure with her newfound affection. Alexander (The Husband List) is a rising star in the Regency arena, and her fan base can only grow with this rollicking romance. (May 8)Forecast: Dispelling the notion that Regencies are on the decline, fans of Julia Quinn and Christina Dodd will turn out in full force for this pleasantly fresh read.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Faced with the chore of looking after his brother-in-law's three country-bred sisters during their first London Season, Thomas Effington, Marquess of Helmsley, hits upon a plan to reduce his inconvenience he simply will find matches for them as quickly as possible. But Lady Marianne Shelton has no desire to be married off. After all, she is an aspiring writer and intends to have adventures and experience life instead of being tied down by a husband. But when her first adventure turns out to involve a bit too much brandy, a stolen kiss, and her very attractive host and eventually evolves into "lessons in life," she suddenly finds herself reassessing her goals. "An aging, intelligent, bluestocking" spinster heroine who likes it that way, an arrogant, "respectable rake" who learns more from his "lessons" than he teaches, and two delightful sisters who are surely destined for stories of their own combine in a lively, laughter-laced, sensual Regency romp that has a bit more to it than some. The snippets from Marianne's anonymous newspaper column, "The Absolutely True Adventures of a Country Miss in London," which introduce selected chapters, are an added plus. Alexander (The Husband List) has written several earlier romances and lives in Omaha, NE.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: Effington Family & Friends (Book 3)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; First Edition edition (May 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380818205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380818204
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,384 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

New York Times bestselling author Victoria Alexander was an award winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was much more fun than real life. She turned to writing full time and is still shocked it worked out.

Since the publication of her first book in 1995, she has written thirty-one full length novels and six novellas. Find a complete list on her website and chat with her on facebook

The Perfect Wife--originally published in 1996 and reissued in March 2008--hit #1 on the New York Times list. Sixteen of her books are bestsellers hitting the New York Times, USA Today and/or Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. With books translated into more than a dozen different languages she has readers around the world and has twice been nominated for Romance's Writers of America prestigious RITA award. In 2009 she was given a Career Achievement Award from RT Bookclub and was named Historical Storyteller of the year in 2003. In 2008 she was the keynote speaker for the Romance Writers of American annual conference in San Francisco. Victoria credits much of her writing success to her experiences as a reporter.

Her years as a broadcast journalist were spent in two radically different areas of the country: Nebraska and West Virginia. In West Virginia, she covered both natural and manmade disasters. She was on the scene when a power plant construction accident in a small town left 52 men dead. She once spent the night on a mountain waiting to learn of the fate of coal miners trapped in a mine collapse. Victoria was producing a newscast when her husband (who worked at the same television station) and several other journalists were held hostage by a disturbed Vietnam veteran. In Nebraska, she reported on the farm crisis and watched people lose land that had been in their families for generations. She covered the story that was the basis of the movie BOYS DON'T CRY and once acted as the link between police and a gunman who had barricaded himself in his home. Her investigative work exposed the trucking of New York City garbage to a small town dump in rural Nebraska.

During her journalism career, Victoria covered every president from Ford to Clinton. She knows firsthand what it feels like to be surrounded by rising floodwaters and inside a burning building. She's interviewed movie stars including Kevin Costner, ridden an elephant and flown in a governor's helicopter. She's covered a national political convention and Pope John Paul II's historic visit to Denver as well as small town festivals celebrating everything from walnuts to Glen Miller. Her work was honored by numerous organizations including the Associated Press who called a feature about a firefighter's school "story telling genius". It was the encouragement she needed to turn from news to fiction. She's never looked back.

Victoria is a former president of the Omaha Press Club and in 2009 was named an OPC Face on the Barroom Floor. A caricature portrait of her joined previous faces including presidents, sports figures and politicians in a tradition that began in 1971.

Victoria claims her love of romance and journalism is to due to the influence of her favorite comic book character: Lois Lane, a terrific reporter and a great heroine who pursued Superman with an unwavering determination. And why not? He was extremely well drawn.

Victoria grew up traveling the world as an Air Force brat. Today, she lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and her dogs. Victoria had two bearded collies, Sam and Louie (named from characters in one of her books). Sam (on the left), the best dog in the world for 13 ½ years, passed away in September 2010. Louie took on the position of loyal companion and did a fine job even though he doesn't understand that kitchen counter surfing is not allowed! Now he's been joined by Reggie, king of the lilacs.

They all live happily ever after in a house under constant renovation and the accompanying parade of men in tool belts. And never ending chaos. Victoria laughs a great deal--she has to.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By K. Morgan on April 13, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Marriage Lesson is the humorous story of Thomas Effington, Lord Helmsley, who becomes the keeper of his sister's three young sisters-in-law. His hopes are to marry them off as quickly as he can so his life can get back to it's normal routine. But the sisters have a different idea. Marianne, the oldest of the three, has no desire to get married. The two younger sisters tell Thomas they themselves won't marry until their older sister does. Herein lies the challenge...he must find a husband for the adventure-seeking Marianne.
This story is romantic and funny at the same time. The character of Thomas is so typical male that it's hilarious to read about him. When it comes to love he seems to be rather dense. I think in the end his friends even feel sorry for him because of his lack of smarts where Marianne is concerned. Marianne is truly a heroine to fall in love with. She is smart and full of wit. She is not going to let any man stand in her way. She is very independent and imaginative. She keeps Thomas on his toes. And the romantic things Thomas does to win Marianne's heart are so funny.
The secondary characters are also very well developed and likable. I would like to see more written about Pennington and Berkley. Marianne's sisters were also very enjoyable characters. Especially when they teamed up to help Thomas with Marianne. And the whole idea of Marianne writing the "Absolutely True" stories definitely added some spice to the book.
This book is very enjoyable and is easy to read. I found myself reading faster and faster to get to the end to see what happened. It was definitely a great way to spend a few hours.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Joyously Retired Teacher on March 11, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Marianne and Thomas are so obviously in love with each other, but neither will admit it. I loved the way Thomas persisted in trying to do romantic things to win her...even if his acts turned out more silly than heroic! How she could keep rejecting his marriage proposals in such circumstances is beyond my understanding!
The characters in this story are endearing; I look forward to seeing them again in future stories. The romantic and sexual tension kept me turning the pages well past my bedtime. Victoria Alexander will hereon in be ranked with Julia Quinn, Christina Dodd, and Jill Barnett as favorite authors of romantic humor.
However, the lady did protest a bit too much, in my opinion. Surely even a dimwit could have divined that Thomas was in love with Marianne, even if he didn't think to say the actual words. And the sexual encounters between the two were too numerous to be consistent with this period. One would have been enough to make any unmarried couple fearful of pregnancy, but as many times as these two go at it...well, it's an accident waiting to happen! And, from the start, I was doubtful that society of the period would cast an approving eye on a situation where three young girls came to live in a home with an eligible bachelor, even sporting a dragon of a chaperone.
Still, this is a captivating story that will have you in tears of joy and laughter clear to the end. Let's have more like this one, Ms. Alexander!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Thea on June 4, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the 5th book of this series I have read,(preceded by "The Wedding Bargain", "The Husband List", "The Prince's Bride",and "Her Highness my Wife", although not precisely in that order) and I can say without a doubt that it is my favorite of them all.
Thomas is charming, sensual, strong, masterful and an accomplished lover , as any romantic novel hero should be, but at the same time has flaws,and makes mistakes and even gets himself in ridiculous situations sometimes. Surprisingly, that doesn't take away from him, on the contrary, makes him even more endearing and believable. Marianne is bold, romantic, intelligent and a dreamer. I liked the fact that she wears glasses, its kind of different.
I enjoyed the sex scenes in this book, they were passionate, and well written and balance a story that otherwise would have been too "light". A nice surprise in a Victoria Alexander book, that sometimes tend to not include enough or not develop well this type of scenes.
The story is funny and romantic, althogh there are some things I had trouble believing, like the fact that Thomas needed a clue from Marianne sisters to figure out the stories were about them. Hello? It was pretty obvious.
One thing I have noticed about Alexander's novels is that the characters sometimes tend to act in a maner more appropiate to this century than the rigid English society of that time. The heroines are far too bold and the tolerant and even encouraging attitude of the older people (specially the Dowager Duchess)is a little unbelievable.
But in general is a good story, fast paced, passionate and charming. A real page turner (I could barely put it down) I strongly recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By camille VINE VOICE on December 13, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Marriage Lesson is the sequel to the Husband List. In The Marriage Lesson, Marianne and Thomas, sister and brother to Richard and Gillian (the male and female protagonists of the original book), are thrown together. Thomas is left holding the debut bag for Marianne and her 2 younger sisters when his parents leave England to visit Richard and Gillian in America. Thomas originally wants to marry Marianne (he cannot even remember her name at the outset of the book and calls her "Merry something") and her sisters off asap. To that end he attempts to persuade a friend to "take" Marianne off his hands and subsequently sends notes to the same effect, complete with dowry information, to the dullest, most respectable bachelors in the ton. Of course between the time he does that and the sisters' come-out ball, he begins to fall in love with Marianne. Meanwhile Marianne longs for adventure, travel and to meet a swashbuckling hero and therefore has no interest in accepting the dull suitors more interested in her dowry than herself. In this book, the author does a far better job of developing the characters' personalities than in the original book. Each has their own believable quirks and irrationalities; Thomas' excruciatingly bad poetry sets him apart from the typical Regency rake characters. The use of Marianne's serialized newspaper story as a slightly fictionalized account of her own life is a nice prelude to each chapter and proves that she does in fact have talent. Even the love scenes are better written in this book, although again I will quibble with the casual attitude toward unmarried sex and its potential repercussions which would not have been typical for the time period.Read more ›
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