Sonnet, May 2001, 6.50, 306 pp.
Over the last few years most of the Ton recognizes Lady Cassandra Abbott as the expert on proper etiquette with published works to support her position. Married to an older person, Cassandra is a paragon that debutantes and other aristocrats can copy. However, in 1843, Cassandra's spouse dies, leaving behind financial ruin. Unable to even discuss her monetary woes with her mother because that is incorrect behavior, Cassandra reconsiders her all she believed as true for a proper lady.
Bryce Keene needs a female guardian to help him raise his teenage niece. No one is better suited for the job than the nonpareil Cassandra. He offers to pay off her father's gambling debts and provide her an allowance if she would agree to a marriage of convenience in which she teaches his niece proper behavior becoming of a lady. Desperate Cassandra accepts, but she has changed her thoughts on propriety so he does not obtain what he expected. Instead, he attains love.
PROPER AFFAIR is an enjoyable, often amusing, and early Victorian romance. The lead characters are a strong couple whose sparks light up the story line. When together, the plot is just what sub-genre fans want from their novels. However, the key secondary cast behaves more like spoiled little children detracting from Cassandra and Bryce. Still, Victoria Malvey provides her fans with a fun to read tale due to her stars shining with a strong historical background.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner