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Married to a Perfect Stranger by Jane…

Married to a Perfect Stranger

by Jane Ashford

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"3.5 out of 5 stars, at the urging of their Mothers’ two years ago, John and Mary married each other than John left for a two-year voyage to China for his job at the Foreign Office. Once John returns to England they find that their two years apart has changed them both and as they slowly come to terms with the new changes, they try to figure out how to work as a married couple once and for all. However, are all their personal changes for the better? In addition, with John trying to get advancements at work will they be able to help each other out or will their help turn into more personal blunders?

This is an intensely sweet novel about two supposedly similar individuals, who changed while they were apart, trying to make their marriage work as they navigate the difficulties of English society. I really liked how Mary was able to handle all the changes in her life without ending up being walked on by John or anyone else."

Read more of this review and a TEASER here: http://frommetoyouvideophoto.blogspot.com/2015/04/made-grade-married-to-perfect-... ( )
  fromjesstoyou | Mar 21, 2016 |
I'd give this three-and-a-half if I could. It was sweet and charming and the path that Mary and John took to falling in love with each other was very believable. It's not quite a four-star book for me because Mary didn't stand up for herself to John and John, for his part, felt powerless in the wide world so thought to exert his authority at home with Mary. Thankfully, they both figured their s**t out by the end of the book and became the partners each other needed. But, for so much of the book their behavior made me cringe with embarrassment for them that I just couldn't quite give the book four stars. ( )
  BillieBook | Mar 1, 2016 |
People change. They change in small ways and in large ways. When you haven't seen someone for a long time, you might find them just the same as you remember or you might find them very changed. The longer the absence though, the more likely the changes will be great. In Jane Ashford's latest historical romance, the hero and heroine, separated for two years, find themselves married to very different people than they expected.

Mary and John were two tentative and compliant people whose respective families decided that they would be a good match. Mary was sweetly timid and quiet. John was hapless and a bit bumbling. At the urging of their families, they marry. Only one month into their marriage, John receives a posting on a diplomatic mission to China with the Foreign Office. With John off in China, Mary is sent to help oversee an elderly, failing aunt's large estate until such time as her husband returns. Both of their experiences change them greatly from the meek people who married each other at their families' behest, so when John returns home after two years of being gone, both he and Mary will have to adjust to more than they expected.

John's sojourn in China has made him opinionated and confident. He's looking forward to coming home to his compliant little wife. But Mary's tenure with her aunt has taught her that she is very capable as well. John sees Mary's new persona as bossy and managing while he comes off as controlling and dismissive. While these new personalities are irritating to the other, in the extreme, they are also, inexplicably, attracted to these more confident manifestations of each other as well. As their domestic drama and readjustment to each other progresses in fits and starts, there are also two other developments that come to play a large role in the story. On his return to London, John has taken to frequenting the slums and dangerous areas near the docks in disguise in order to keep tabs on the ongoing situation in China, relying on tavern owners and Chinese sailors for his information. Meanwhile, Mary meets an aristocratic elderly neighbor thanks to her drawing. Mary's likenesses of the people she draws are uncanny, highlighting characteristics that the subjects might not know about themselves or that they might want to remain hidden. As information about the political situation with China goes ominously silent, Mary makes some grievous social missteps, and John's family tries to step in to remedy things for their supposed inept son just as they always have. Both John and Mary have to come to an appreciation of themselves, stepping back from the long perceived view of them that family has held, and then they must come to an appreciation of the more confident person that is their spouse in order to find their happiness.

The story's pacing is rather slow and their chemistry as a couple is a bit iffy. John as a character is unappealing and domineering and Mary still retains some of her timidity, especially with her husband, making her a little frustrating for the reader. The element of intrigue helps the story line but pieces of the resolution come from out in left field, with John suddenly remembering things that were never introduced before the climax. The idea of spouses who change almost beyond all recognition and must learn to live with and love each other is a good one and the story is ultimately sweet as a result but it wasn't altogether satisfying. ( )
  whitreidtan | Apr 28, 2015 |
Delightful and different!

This story has a slightly different premise from the norm. Mary Fleming and John Bexley were married for only a month before he set sail for China with the Trade Commission.
Now after a two year separation, John has returned and I really didn't like his attitudes and peremptory treatment of the wife he left behind. Mary has spent the intervening years with an aunt, at the direction of her family.
John is a different person to the one Mary remembers, but then Mary is no longer the shy little thing he left behind. Mary has a gift. She draws people as she sees them, which can be both illuminating and devastating. Her drawings take on a life of their own. Rather more than one of the required womanly arts. As Mary and John relearn who each other truly is, both Mary's gift and John's pursuit of matters of interest to the England collide.
Add a touch of intrigue and a thoroughly nasty coworker and you have a read that quite warms the heart and touches the soul.

A NetGalley ARC ( )
  eyes.2c | Mar 3, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 149260190X, Mass Market Paperback)

Brand new Regency romance from RT Book Reviews Lifetime Achievement Award Nominee Jane Ashford

Time and distance have changed them both...

Quiet and obliging, Mary Fleming and John Bexley marry to please their families and John immediately leaves on a two-year diplomatic mission. Now John is back, and everything they thought they knew about each other was wrong...

It's disconcerting, irritating-and somehow all very exciting...

"Charm, intrigue, humor and just the right touch of danger." -RT Book Reviews, on Charmed and Dangerous
"Jane Ashford is an excellent writer-her prose is a joy to read." -Regency Retro Reads
"Jane Ashford's romances are bewitching, filled with those elements that delight a reader: good story, intrigue and dynamic tension." -Romance Communications

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:24 -0400)

Quiet and obliging, Mary Fleming and John Bexley marry to please their families and John immediately leaves on a two-year diplomatic mission. Now John is back, and everything they thought they knew about each other was wrong.

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