Author:  Mary Balogh
ISBN:  978-1-59315-554-4

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I'll tell you, they certainly gave this one to the right woman.  As anyone knows who follows my reviews on various sites – especially romance ones – I am a huge believer that the only man ever created in literature worth living and dying for was Mr. Darcy.  Why?  Because he was the one who said he loved Elizabeth, “most ardently.”

It does not then surprise me that when I received this charming, romantic very “English” book, that I was immediately swept away by Reginald Mason.  Reginald is not quite Mr. Darcy at the beginning, though.  Reginald is what we today call a “hound” of the highest caliber.  His father, who is extremely frustrated with him, made a killing in the coal industry, and wanted more than anything to educate his son in the ways of a gentleman.  Unfortunately for his father, making millions from coal does not allow one to be part of “higher society.”  Your hands must never be dirty to be part of the ton.  It also doesn’t help that the Masons’ neighbor is a high and mighty Earl who looks down on the Masons’ every chance he gets; even telling his own family to avoid eye contact with them when they go to church every Sunday.  The Earl is not about to recognize a lowly coal miner as worthy in HIS community.

Unfortunate situation number one is that the Earl has some serious debts that need taking care of right away.  And he has tried with all his might to set up the “perfect rich match” for his lovely daughter, Annabelle.  Marrying her off to the richest (baldest, shortest) man in town, will once again fill the Earl’s coffers and save his many, many homes from foreclosure. 

What’s unfortunate situation number two for the Earl?  His beautiful daughter has her own ideas about who she’s going to marry, and she’s been hatching HER plans for quite some time.  When she destroys her family’s name, the Earl is forced to meet with the neighbor he so despises.  The man with coal on his hands offers to literally “buy” the Earl’s daughter, Annabelle, for his son Reginald.  Not only will he give his only son in marriage to a woman who has frankly “sullied” any chance she had of getting someone from “good society” to be her husband, but Mr. Mason’s dirty coal money will also save the Earl’s hide.  So a bargain is struck.

I want to, with everything I’ve got, to tell you the truth behind this story.  I want to whisper in your ear, because this story is so well-written, and so funny that you’ll never guess what’s really going on with the characters.  In other words, a curve ball is delivered by, elt us just say, a very smart young woman.

I will hush up now and let you know that this book is THE Valentine’s Day read.  Because, unfortunately, you’re going to have to wait that long to buy it.  But when you do…?  No…No...I can’t do it.  I will simply bite my tongue until 2010.  Or, maybe I’ll just go whisper it to my dog.  I know he’ll never tell.  Enjoy!

Click Here To Purchase A Matter of Class