Review: Married to a Perfect Stranger by Jane Ashford

February 26, 2015 Review 0

Review: Married to a Perfect Stranger by Jane Ashford

Mary Fleming and John Bexley are the "white sheep' of their large families, written off as hapless, boring—and thus suitable for each other. But they're no sooner married than John is sent off on a two-year diplomatic mission.

Upon his return, John and Mary find that everything they thought they knew about each other is wrong. They've changed radically during the long separation. They have to start all over. It's surprising, irritating—and somehow very exciting...

Title: Married to a Perfect Stranger
Author: Jane Ashford
Other books by this author that we've reviewed: A Radical Arrangement, First Seasons/Bride to Be
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source: Publisher
Published: March 3, 2015
Genres: Historical Romace, Suspense
Pages: 384
See the title at Goodreads
Purchase your copy: Visit the Author's Website

Stars: four-stars
Flames: three-flames

In the blurb for this story, the main characters, Mary and John, are the “white sheep” of each of their families.  I am not completely sure what was meant by this, but these two were basically considered non-entities by their respective families.  These poor kids were basically the butt of family jokes, not expected to make much of themselves, and could never do anything right.  They were definitely overshadowed by overbearing siblings and parents.  Little wonder that they blundered into marriage, as directed by their dictatorial mothers.  With no other expectations, what else would they do.

As it turned out, that was the best thing that could have happened to these two young people.  Even the lengthy separation shortly after the wedding was the best thing that could have happened.  It got Mary and John away from the lack of expectations and lethargy to situations that demanded that they grow and become self-aware and confident.

I actually enjoyed how the author separated this couple, then how they had to come together and learn about each other all over again.  All though, neither really knew the other in the first place.  A lovely story about growing up and becoming . . .

John has “a junior position at the Foreign Office.”   Until he got chosen for the diplomatic journey to China he was quite satisfied with the job of endlessly analyzing reports and such.  But that journey changed him in many ways.  He discovered he had worth.   He was good at his job.  He had ambition.  He wanted to be recognized for what he could do.  But, interoffice politics can be just as daunting as family expectations – or lack thereof.

Mary has a different way of understanding the world.  Something that no one in her family seems to want to admit to, let alone understand it.  After her new husband is spirited away on his China journey, Mary is shuttled off to a great aunt’s house.  Great-aunt Lavinia is succumbing to old age and dementia leaving her house in total chaos.  Mary discovers that given the chance, she can run a well ordered house, and do it well.

When they reunite, John and Mary discover that though they have become different people, they like the people they have become.  They like themselves and they like each other.  Their discovery of each other, though not always smooth sailing, and their growing feelings was beautiful.  They not only fell in love with each other, but they each became the others champion.

Not only was this a wonderful story of discovery and growth, but there was even some suspense and action.  This did feature the Foreign Office after all.

For the lovers of the pomp and grandeur of the historical romance, there really isn’t much of that here.  This story is about the younger siblings and their struggle to find their niche.  But, if you like actual historical flavor mixed with your romance, you may really enjoy this.  The author leaves us with some historical facts about foreign Secretary Lord Castlereagh who was a part of this story.   I found that interesting and it gave some added spice to the story.

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