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The Matchmaker Series, Candace Camp

I’ve got an older publication for you. In 2007 Candace camp kicked off her Matchmaker Series with The Marriage Wager, and went on to publish three more before ending the series. The series features mystery, fabulous characters, and of course four happy-ever-afters. Forgive my lengthiness. I could not review only one of these books, so I chose to review the series itself. The review is below the four book descriptions, if you wish to skip down to it. I hope you enjoy the review, and that it will land these books in your lap. I want you to enjoy this series as much as I did!

From Publishers Weekly, The Marriage Wager, Book 1

“…the Matchmaker series, set in 19th-century London and concerning the lovely widow Lady Francesca Haughston, mistress of romantic chicanery. When Francesca claims that she can get any marriageable girl engaged by the end of the season, Sinclair, the fifth duke of Rochford, accepts her wager, but only if he can choose the girl. The target he picks is Constance Woodley, a spinsterish young woman who’s been living with her uncle since her father’s death, hopeless for a future as anything but a chaperone for her spoiled younger cousins. Constance has no idea why Francesca has taken her under her wing, but doesn’t worry too much about it: she’s feeling alive as if for the first time, especially when she meets handsome Lord Dominic Leighton; unfortunately, he turns out to be Francesca’s brother and way out of Constance’s social class…”  –www.candace-camp.com

From publishers Weekly, The Bridal Quest, Book 2

“…Returned to his family in 1807 after being kidnapped and raised in the slums of London, Gideon, earl of Radbourne, begins searching for a wife at the behest of his demanding grandmother, Lady Odelia-one who will please his noble family and his own unpretentious nature. The constant stream of predictably giggly, fan-waving eligible maidens do not arouse his interest, but nonconformist, plainspoken and drably dressed Lady Irene Wyngate, a near-spinster at 25, does. The palpable sexual tension between the two soon has Irene rethinking her plan of remaining unattached and provides Gideon with newfound hope that a caricature bride can be avoided…” –www.candace-camp.com

From Publishers Weekly, The Wedding Challenge, Book 3

“…the unmatched is beautiful 23-year-old Lady Calandra, whose overprotective brother and guardian, the formidable duke of Rochford, has intimidated all comers. When Callie is rescued, at a masked ball, from a drunken partygoer’s unwanted advances, her hero turns out to be the mysterious earl of Bromwell, an enemy of Callie’s brother. Although Rochford orders Bromwell and Callie to stay away from each other, Callie grabs the reins and enlists the help of matchmaker Lady Francesca Houghston. Francesca is torn, however, because she knows the source of enmity between the two men, which neither will speak of…” –www.candace-camp.com

From Publishers Weekly, The Courtship Dance, Book 4

No, absolutely not. In fact, I forbid you to read the description of this book until you have read book three. There isn’t a description in the world that won’t spoil the end of book three for you. Remember, the description for book four was not release until AFTER book three. Trust me on this. You’ll be so delightfully shocked that you’ll want to send me chocolate, which I will gladly accept.

THE REVIEW:

Lady Francesca Haughston comes by her matchmaker status honestly. She never set out to be a matchmaker, but one challenge led her to just that, a successful match. And so, throughout the series, she often finds herself in the position to show younger ladies how to make the most of their Season. I love that this idea is not the tradition matchmaking plot. It’s believable and not cheesy in any way. I was impressed.

Usually within a series I find myself falling in love with a wide range of characters: Some heroes, some heroines, and some secondary characters. That was not the case here. In this series I am completely caught by all four heroines. While the men are fabulous, strong, sometimes stupid, and all swoon-worthy in their own way—the women steal the spotlight. They are not giggly, young girls coming out in their first Season. These are women with sharp tongues, somewhat broken spirits, backbones of steal, and with the influence of Lady Haughston not willing to settle. This series encompasses the fact that women are to not only be ravished by passion, but also cherished, and never placed under man’s thumb.

With these heroines you won’t find any fainting, but you will find slapping, kicking, struggling, throwing, and shooting. Yes, I said shooting. While half naked too, no less. It’s an awesome scene. Miss Constance Woodley (The Marriage Wager, Book 1) would have been pushed into a near Cinderella state, but her backbone was too strong. When offered the season she never got, she jumped at a chance to have fun regardless of the disapproval of her family. Lady Irene Wyngate (The Bridal Quest, Book 2) had had enough of being pushed around. She doesn’t chase men in hopes to keep one; the purpose is to chase them away. Lady Calandra (The Wedding Challenge, Book 3) maybe sweet and vibrant, but she is not naive. She does not tolerate being treated as a child by her big brother. She knows what she wants, and when she sees him she knows just who to go to in order to get him.

However, as wonderful as each heroine is, there is one woman who takes the cake, Lady Francesca Haughston (The Courtship Dance, Book 4). Camp cleverly shines the spotlight on Francesca throughout all the books without letting the character take over, as she isn’t a main character until book four. That’s not the only thing the author is clever at. She shows that while Francesca is one of the most beautiful women of the Ton, it doesn’t compare to her beauty of generosity, common sense, boldness, wit, and humor that lay within her. And it’s not until later that you find out just how tortured Francesca’s private life is. The demons that she faces only highlight just how strong of a character she truly is. I can’t recall the last time I rooted for a character so much.

There are a few long-winded moments throughout the series, and I very much objected to the fact that Francesca and her brother even speak to their parents (they are horrible people). Otherwise, I have no real complaints. If you read historical romance I highly recommend this series.

I give the entire series five hearts! 

www.candace-camp.com (GO!)

P.S. Authors, listen up! I purchased this book because of how beautifully done Camp’s website is. While the book description of The Marriage Wager was the deciding factor on which book I chose to buy, the layout, colors, and overall design of her website is why I knew I was going to buy one of her books. And yes, I do pick out my shampoo by how pretty the bottle is. Whatever works, people.

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4 Responses

  1. Wow! Fabulous review. These books sound like “must reads!”

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Adriana Kraft. Adriana Kraft said: RT @ArkansasCyndi: The Matchmaker Series, by @campcandace: http://wp.me/plCLo-1gD Fabulous review by @CrystalPosey RT Plz […]

  3. Thanks for this nice book review. I enjoyed it. I read book reviews on different sites, I find your review very genuine and orignal.

  4. Thank you, Claudia. I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

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