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The Marriage Contract Mass Market Paperback – February 6, 2001

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; First Edition edition (February 6, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380808331
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380808335
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #538,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Setting: London and Scotland, 1815

Sensuality Rating: 7

Married by proxy to a man she's never laid eyes on, one who's rumored to be insane, at that, sensible Anne Burnett wonders what she's gotten herself into. When Anne arrives at her new home in the Scottish Highlands, she is greeted by a half-naked, blue-faced man wielding a knife. This, of course, is Anne's new husband, Aidan Black, the Earl of Thiebauld. Thiebauld is furious with his older sister's unwelcome meddling and is determined not to accept the bride so summarily dumped on him, no matter how appealing her direct manner, fine gray eyes, and womanly curves. But her husband didn't count on Anne's determination to finally have her own home, her own people, and her own place in the world. And he certainly didn't count on the gut-wrenching passion that flames out of control every time Anne comes near him. Maxwell's trademark humor, realistic dramatic scenes, and fast-paced storytelling is greatly in evidence in The Marriage Contract. Cathy Maxwell is definitely a rising star among romance authors. Keep an eye on her and enjoy! --Alison Trinkle

From Publishers Weekly

The sympathetic protagonists and engaging writing style characteristic of Maxwell's Regency romances will ensure that her latest (following Because of You, Falling In Love Again) will be well received by newcomers and loyal readers alike. Set in 1815, the narrative unfolds as plucky Anne Burnett, an impoverished orphan, is married by proxy to the Mad Earl Tiebauld, Aidan Black, and sent to Castle Kelwin in Scotland to tell him the news. Handsome, powerful and eccentric (but hardly "mad"), Aidan is less than thrilled when he discovers that his sister arranged the marriage. Although he tries to send her back to London, stubborn, resourceful Anne digs in, winning over his clan. Slowly Aidan's life changes from the inside out, and he begins to doubt if he wants to send her back after all. Amusing and romantic by turns, the relationship is further complicated by a subplot involving a band of Jacobite rebels with whom Aidan becomes entangled, but the affair between the two sparring equals remains paramount. Despite the addition of an epilogue and an afterword, both unnecessary after such a well-wrought tale, this is a delicious read from an accomplished Regency author. (Feb.) Forecast: Maxwell mixes humor with meticulous characterization to create memorable stories. Since she's not the most prolific romance writer, her fans will be eager to get their hands on this rewarding Regency, though a generic cover doesn't add much to the book's appeal.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

It has a very nice romantic edge to it.
Amazon Customer
While not a necessarily bad book, I found this book to not be worth the time it took to read it.
Holly Golightly
There was no base through the action of the story or a physical connection.
SaraO @ TheLibrarianReads

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Verse Miller on April 25, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The beginning of The Marriage Contract promises an interesting premise in a unique Regency setting: In a last ditch effort to save herself from spinsterhood, Anne Burnett is married by proxy to a man she's never met, Aidan Black. A confirmed bachelor, he has chosen to live outside of society in a medieval castle, his hobby of sorts. From there, the story, though told adequately, unfolds predictably. Once the two meet, the heroine transforms the hero's unkempt living quarters into a real home, endears herself to his servants and subordinates, is beautiful and quite plucky. This suggests to our hero, required in romance to oppose losing his heart to a woman, that maybe he could use a wife after all.
There is no clearly defined reason why Anne and Aidan, both exceedingly nice, yet two-dimensional people, shouldn't be together. The conflicts that keep the couple from willingly falling into each other's arms amount to little more than this being the author's intention.
The Scotts versus English issue of the period fuels the most exciting situations and gives the characters something to do. But overall, the story telling is too simplistic, the writing style too elementary. The Marriage Contract reads as a young adult novel (albeit with one or two lackluster sex scenes) without challenging the more sophisticated literary palate of today's romance audience. Author Cathy Maxwell might do well to apply her solid, but take-no-chances writing ability to a different genre, one that caters to a preteen readership.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on February 1, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Ton considers her two seasons in London as failures because Anne Burnett failed to make a match. Anne set an apparently impossible goal for an orphan like herself: she wanted to marry for love instead of securing her future.

Anne is forced to marry by proxy some obscure Scottish lunatic, Mad Earl Tiebauld, Aidan Black, whose sister arranged the marriage. Anne travels to her new home only to receive a very unfriendly welcome by her spouse, who not only rejects her, but he wants her back in London. However, the English transplant ignores the irritable Scot and soon her actions gain the respect and support of his clan. To her chagrin, Anne also captures Aidan's black heart just as she now loves him too, but will he wisely keep her at his side or madly cling to his notion she belongs in England?

THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT is an amusing well written Regency romance starring two charming and not so mad (except in love) lead characters. When the story line stays with the main plot the battle of the sexes, it is an absolute delight that will provide fans with a powerfully pleasurable read. However, a political subplot, though cleverly inserted and actually tied back to the prime theme, will feel intrusive because the convincing main tale is so good and so much fun. Cathy Maxwell shows why her historicals are so well received by reviewers and fans with this fabulous Regency novel.

Harriet Klausner
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By "chrissiey57" on February 19, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Aiden Black, the Earl of Tiebauld, is out hunting in Scotland for a wildcat when he stumbles across a hopeless woman who is about to be attacked by the object of his pursuit. He, of course, saves her and finds out that she's just been thrown out of her coach in some sort of accident and the driver is dead. What he does NOT know then is that she, Anne Burnett, is actually his wife, married to him by proxy back in England......
As you can see, the beginning of THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT is action-packed. We soon are introduced to the main characters and their personalities are revealed clearly and efficiently by the end of chapter 1.
As is expected, Aiden does not want a wife, especially one he marries sight-unseen. Although he is attracted to Anne from the start, he tries to send her back. No, Aiden is not the kind of tortured hero who mistreats the heroine. But he does resort to some tactics to make Anne-the-Stubborn-English-Gentlewoman want to return to London of her own accord--he asks,for example, Anne to cook breakfast for a large group of ravenous guests, and wants her to clean the manure in the stable (reducing his lady to what, a servant?).......Aiden stikes me as one-dimensional: when he's not trying to drive Anne out, he is busy having the internal struggle of whether he should side with his Scottish friends in the up-coming rebellion or not. (Aside from this, Aiden seems to be just acting like Sir Bannor the Bold from Teresa Medeiros's CHARMING THE PRINCE--the two bear many similarities)
Frankly, Anne is the only character that keeps me reading THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT. Compared to Aiden, she is much more likable.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kat on June 18, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
With nothing better to do on a lonely Saturday night, I picked up "The Marriage Contract" that had been calling my name for some time. What a delight and surprise -- I could not put the book down. I had it read in 2 days flat and was left in a whirlwind of giddiness. Very funny with two very strong and independent personalities who learn to live and love one another against the odds. The beginning of the end was a little surprising and unexpected, but well worth the final AHhh of relief for both Anne and Aidan. A must read for anyone who wants to laugh, cry, and just plain out feel giddy with lovely feeling tickling your heart....
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More About the Author

Bestselling novelist Cathy Maxwell embraces her writing romance as a way to express her belief that "loving well is the greatest adventure of all," and to explore her fascination with the Regency period.

The author of thirty historical romance novels and four novellas. Cathy's latest is THE GROOM SAYS YES, the last of her "The Brides of Wishmore" trilogy. The others, also set in the Regency period Scotland, are quintessential Cathy Maxwell--traditional historicals with a contemporary sensibility and a touch of humor. They are THE BRIDE SAYS NO and THE BRIDE SAYS MAYBE. Other books include, A Seduction at Christmas, The Marriage Ring, The Earl Claims His Wife, and His Christmas Pleasure. Each has appeared for multiple weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list.

Cathy received recognition from the start with her first novel, All Things Beautiful. Published in 1994, it was nominated for Best First Book by the Romance Writers of America and for Best First Historical by Romantic Times magazine. It also received first place recognition as Best Read of 1994 from the Reader's Voice. She has been honored by Romance Writers of America with three RITA Award nominations.

Born in Olathe, Kansas, Cathy's has long called Virginia home, noting she is "a Virginian by choice, but a Kansan by nature." She worked in television news and spent six years in the Navy, including a stint in the Pentagon. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Washington Romance Writers, and Virginia Romance Writers and she is a frequent speaker at writers' conferences, libraries and special events. You can always reach Cathy at

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