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3.7 out of 5 stars
The Marriage Ring (Scandals and Seductions)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 17, 2010
I was delighted with Cathy Maxwell's new tale The Marriage Ring, largely because the hero is so unexpected. He is really the star of this novel.

Richard Lynsted is upright, moral and a wee bit judgmental and even at age twenty-nine he longs for his father's approval. He believes he can earn it when he tries to thwart a blackmail attempt against his father and uncle. Problem is the blackmailer is a beautiful Scot who is outspoken and angry.

Grace MacEachin is also trying to win her father's approval. Her sire was convicted of embezzling money from an elderly lady and sent away to a penal colony for years. During her father's absence everything fell apart for Grace, she left her Inverness home for London and is now an actress. She believes in her father's innocence and is convinced that Richard's father and uncle were the real culprits, so she sends them a note demanding money or she will tell the magistrates that they were involved with the embezzlement.

Richard is a fair minded person and after meeting Grace, is willing to hear her side of the story and he is ready to meet her father too. This necessitates a trip to Scotland and it is on this journey that Richard and Grace really discover each other.

Both leads are distrustful and longing for parental approval and yet both have lived their lives very differently. Grace is defiant and her past is less than perfect. Richard is a model citizen but he is missing joy and companionship. During their long journey to Scotland they take stock of their lives and really grow into a loving couple. Grace just seems to mature, she realizes she has been headstrong and her escape to London was not ever going to solve her problems.

Richard is so good and honorable it is almost impossible not to like him. Yes, he is a bit reserved but he is also incredibly kind hearted, brave and heartbreakingly vulnerable too. His metamorphosis from stern unbending barrister to open hearted, loving hero is wonderful.

There are a few sections of this novel that get bogged down a little and Grace is a little too forward but hero Richard more than makes up for these little problems. The dialogue is also good (these two speak to each other with respect and affection). This is a definite recommend.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2010
I really wanted to give this book a five star rating, but the end of the book held me back. That's not to say the end of the book was bad (it wasn't) but I was hoping for more. The characters are refreshing and, even though they come to love each other in such a short period of time, the reader can appreciate what they go through together. I wanted this book to keep going and, as I approched the end, I knew it would be wrapped up too quickly. I would have really loved an epilogue...a letter from Grace to her friend Fiona (from Seduction at Christmas) telling of her marriage, or a look ahead to Grace's and Richard's married years...something that would have given me that extra satisfaction at the end of the story.

Other than that, a solid romance and definitely one I will re-read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 10, 2010
The Honorable Richard Lynsted knows exactly the kind of woman he wants to marry: one who is well-bred, reserved, genteel, and most definitely not a Scottish actress intent on blackmailing his father. In other words, his future wife will be the exact opposite of Grace MacEachin. The "Scottish Songbird" may have all of London dangling after her charms, but Richard refuses to be swayed by Miss MacEachin's looks when he listens to her ridiculous story about his father and uncle ruining her father's life. To prove her wrong, Richard agrees to accompany Grace to Scotland where he will hear what her father has to say. It should have been a simple trip...

Grace doesn't trust any man, but she is relieved when Richard Lynsted agrees to hear her father's story. She's just one coach ride away from being reunited with her father and putting her past behind her. Too bad that one coach ride is a long one, made interminable by the priggish man accompanying her.

But Richard isn't as stuffy as he seems. And Grace is more than just a beautiful woman. And someone doesn't want them to make it to Scotland alive. With danger bringing two seemingly opposite people together, will Richard and Grace learn that they do, in fact, have more in common than they first believed? Or will new fears and past hurts keep this newfound couple from taking their blossoming romance all the way to the altar?

Get ready for one of the sweetest, most charming romances of the year with The Marriage Ring. Ever since Cathy Maxwell introduced the indomitable Grace MacEachin in In the Highlander's Bed I've been waiting for Grace's story. To my great pleasure, The Marriage Ring was everything I could hope for. Grace is still the strong, caring beauty I first grew attached to and she meets her match in Richard. Richard may be a big bear of a man, but he's got a soft heart. Both he and Grace share a common yearning for approval and what I adored about their story was the two of them learning what really mattered in life and finding the acceptance they so sought where they least expected it - from one another.

The Marriage Ring is the third book in Ms. Maxwell's Scandals and Seductions series but it stands all on its own. Fans of Ms. Maxwell's will likely delight, as I did, in the brief references to Nick (Richard's cousin) and Fiona (Grace's friend), who fell in love in the first Scandals and Seductions story, A Seduction at Christmas. I finished The Marriage Ring utterly contented with Grace and Richard's romance. It was fast-paced, entertaining, and at times absolutely melted my heart. I cannot wait to see what Ms. Maxwell has in store for readers in her next sure-to-be-fabulous book!

Shayna
Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2010
This story has an unusual hero - a rather stuffy, humorless man who looks for the approval of his father in most of his actions. Mind you, the heroine, Grace MacEachin, is rather unusual too, being an actress; she is also hoping to win her father's approval after he was falsely accused of embezzlement; she believes that if she clears his name, they can have a good relationship again.

Unfortunately for Grace to clear her father's name she has to blacken Richard Lynsted's father and uncle's reputations and Richard doesn't want that. He agrees to travel with Grace to Scotland to interview his father to get to the truth. However their journey isn't without incident and the more time they spend together, the more other things seem important.

I enjoyed most of the story, although I did find certain aspects rather unbelievable. The pacing was reasonable and the interactions between hero and heroine mostly believable, but I did feel that the actual plot didn't always work very well, particularly with regard to Richard's understanding of his father and uncle's actions.

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2010
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 29, 2010
The concept of this book is Grace MacEachin is an actress who's well-connected father was framed by Richard's father and uncle. Richard and Grace head off to Scotland to talk to Grace's father and settle this issue once and for all. Richard is a VERY prudish man and Gracy makes him loosin' up and enjoy life. Not the norm for Cathy Maxwell - but still an enjoyable read.

If you enjoy this genre I would also suggest: To Sin With A Scoundrel (Circle of Sin Trilogy),A Seduction at Christmas and The Truth About Lord Stoneville (Hellions of Halstead Hall).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2010
This book features the character Grace from in The Highlander's Bed. In that story she was a whore, but in this book she has redeemed herself as an independent actress. I loved how the male hero in this book was a virgin. But, with most of Maxwell's novels the sex scenes are way too bland. I prefer a more detailed description. The character's traveled a lot in this book, and Grace's story was discovered along the way. This was an excellent story, and I would describe it as short and sweet. I read this book in one afternoon.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The story line was very interesting. I love that he was a good man considering his Father and Uncle were so very unlikeable in every way. Grace had a very unhappy young life and I wanted her Father to be innocent and the Lynsted Twins to be guilty. She believed in him so strongly and it was very difficult for her to find out that she had been wrong. Her Father did it so his wife, who wanted a lot of nice things, to be happy. He was transported and she left him as soon as he came home. That certainly doesn't speak well of her character. Poor Grace, she had no one and then she is raped. Richard was a prig and not very likable for a while, His relatives barely paid him any attention. His mother was addicted to a drug and was not really a part of his life. I was angry that his Uncle called Grace a tart all the time. He proved to be a great guy in the end and they fell in love
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on February 19, 2015
Richard the uptight business man and Grace an actress/song bird embark on a road trip. Each wishing to prove the innocents of their father. Can two people so opposite attract? Well let's face it that's why we read romance novels. There is suspense. Whose father is guilty of embezzlement? I won't tell. But the trip itself is a growth experience for both of them in more ways then one. With the hea as expected. Though not necessarily for the parents. Other reviewers have said it an I will too. This is a story that cried out for an epilogue. Other then that good reading.
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on September 16, 2011
We choose the paperbacks we buy by reading the back covers. The back of this book did not tell the reader that the heroine was an actress. I've been reading recency fiction for a long time and I really don't enjoy ones centered on the theatre or actresses. This book, however, was the exception. I really enjoyed the plot and the two main characters. The story and settings kept moving and I never found it a dull read. Unlike most regencies, the heroine had more worldly experience than did the hero (who I fell in love with). It's an enjoyable read.
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on July 10, 2010
I didn't think I'd like this book much because I find Cathy Maxwell's books vary considerably in quality. However, I adored Grace and Richard - I felt the way they came together worked really well despite the difference in their backgrounds. The only thing that let the book down was the easy way the uncle and father were forgiven their crimes - the book started off quite dark and edgy but I felt that edge was lost as the plot unfolded. Having said that, it hasn't stopped me giving the book 5 stars.
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