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Crescent Blues Book ViewsImage:three and a half moon gifAvon (Paperback), ISBN 0-380-81832-9
Cathy Maxwell does it again! The Wedding Wager packs a powerful punch for historical romance fans. In a small village in England in 1814, Mary Gates, a squire's daughter, wages war. Mary doesn't fight "Boney," like the rest of the island. She seeks to vanquish her greatest rival -- Tye Barlow, the grandson of her former family servant. Each skirmish builds intensity, creating a fast-paced, enjoyable read alongside a history lesson about the conventions faced by the fairer sex in a Regency-era village.

Book: cathy maxwell, the wedding wagerMary and Tye's personal feud began years ago when she unceremoniously dumped him. The current hostilities revolve around the ownership of a prize-winning stud. Mary wants the horse, because its bloodlines would help revive her family estate. Naturally, Tye also wants a horse that could guarantee any horsebreeder's fortune. Round One opens at an auction where the two stubborn rivals try to outbid each other. Mary bests Tye with determination and a smidgen of trickery, agreeing to pay a price she lacks the funds to meet.

Tye refuses to give up. Memories and persistent emotions tug his heart. Irritation at Mary's eccentricities -- wearing breeches and swearing, among others -- mixes with admiration of her ability to handle horses as well as any man. The showdown occurs in London, the place where fashion, class and reputation collide against the characters' country sensibilities. Mary must decide whether to sacrifice love for duty. She can either combine forces with Tye or strike out on her own with a rich husband. Tye, always at the ready, may need to adjust the odds to suit the outcome.

Maxwell's ability to develop real, complex characters shines through in Mary, a woman ahead of her time in her manner, thinking and style. Mary refuses to wilt or whimper in the face of adversity. But a story about perfect partnership would not be complete without a strong hero to stand beside Maxwell's strong heroine. So Maxwell gives her readers Tye, a hero who will not be overshadowed, thereby crafting a balanced story with memorable characters and thought-provoking plot.

I can't wait for the next story by Cathy Maxwell.

Michelle Monkou

A Maryland resident, Michelle Monkou enjoys reading and writing romance novels. She recently served as president of the local chapter of Romance Writers of America.

Click here to read Michelle Monkou's interview with Cathy Maxwell.

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