Married to a Proper Stranger by Jane Ashford

March 3, 2015 Historical Romance, Reviews 0 ★★★½

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Married to a Proper Stranger by Jane AshfordMarried to a Proper Stranger by Jane Ashford
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on March 3, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
three-half-stars
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...

Newlyweds John Bexley and Mary Fleming barely have time to say their “I-Dos” before John must leave on a 2-year diplomatic mission that simply cannot be passed up.  Fast forward to the end of that mission and neither John nor Mary are the same person the other married.  Two years without your spouse changes a lot about a person.  John and Mary are about to learn how to live with someone they no longer recognize.

This was a different kind of love story.  Often, a romance novel is about the characters falling in love and eventually getting married.  In MARRIED TO A PROPER STRANGER, the characters are already married.  But what is so easy to forget in fiction is that falling in love is only a tiny part of the battle.  Fighting to STAY in love is the real battle.  It’s what a marriage is all about – finding all the little ways to love your spouse despite their faults, adapting to each other’s changing idiosyncrasies,  and learning all the ins-and-outs of another human being.  And THAT is the focus of MARRIED TO A PROPER STRANGER.

In John’s absence, Mary is given the freedom and opportunity to shed the strictures placed on unmarried women.  She speaks her mind and stands up for what she wants and needs from John upon his return.  I liked seeing this other, stronger side of Mary.  As for John, in the beginning he was a bit of a domineering jerk, but this goes along with the theme of recognizing the rules and false demands of society and eschewing those demands in order to become your own person.  As the novel progresses, John and Mary both come to recognize the inner strength and loyalty they feel towards one another.  Together, they are able to transcend their family’s and society’s expectations of them and become a true force to be reckoned with.

Touching, with a healthy dose of realism and lessons on love vs. marriage.  Pick this up for a pleasant spin on the traditional romance novel story.

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