Berkley, Jul 2002, 6.99, 4160 pp.
In 1813, the Regent of snobbery is Katherine Deveraux, daughter of a marriage between a duke and an heiress to a dukedom. Her superior airs turn ugly when she avenges a slight from a fellow student at Mrs. Treadwell's Academy for the Elevation of Young Ladies. Though her actions could have ended tragically, Katherine shows no remorse. The school's secret partner Countess Christiane d'Oliveri worries about her charge's indifference while Katherine's father and stepmother visit Russia.
As she heads home from London after rectifying Katherine's actions, Christiane notices Alain Montclair enter a gentleman's gambling hall. She asks for his help with bringing Katherine down a couple of pegs by getting her to fall in love with him before he deserts her. Kent sounds perfect for the part when an irate spouse decides to skewer Alain for cuckolding him.
Alain turns on his charm on Katherine, but she ignores him. Soon he realizes that the superiority complex hides a lonely woman seeking the love she lost when her father stopped mourning her mother with her. The French wastrel and the English parvenu fall in love, but can he can overcome her formidable mental defenses?
THE SUITOR is an amusing Regency romance that cleverly provides a subtle message on the strengths of women intertwined into the plot. The lead couple is a delight and the return of Treadwell and d'Oliveri (see HOW TO KISS A HERO)add a feel of homecoming to the humorous story line. If any Regency author has a right to act snobbish it is Sandy Hingston who always furnishes superior novels.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner