From the publisher:
One of BuzzFeed‘s Romance Novels to Read Summer 2020
It is a truth universally acknowledged that an arrogant bachelor insistent on a wife who meets the strictest of requirements–deserves his comeuppance.
The Honourable Mr. Jeremy Malcolm is searching for a wife, but not just any wife. As the target of matchmaking mothers and desperate debutantes, he’s determined to avoid the fortune hunters and find a near-perfect woman, one who will meet the qualifications on his well-crafted list. But after years of searching, he’s beginning to despair of ever finding this paragon. Until Selina Dalton arrives in town.
Selina, a vicar’s daughter of limited means and a stranger to high society, is thrilled when her friend Julia Thistlewaite invites her to London, until she learns it’s all part of a plot to exact revenge on Mr. Malcolm. Selina is reluctant to participate in Julia’s scheme, especially after meeting the irresistible Mr. Malcolm, who appears to be very different from the arrogant scoundrel of Julia’s description.
But when Mr. Malcolm begins judging Selina against his unattainable standards, Selina decides that she has some qualifications of her own. And if he is to meet them he must reveal the real man behind…Mr. Malcolm’s List.
This book has a sort of modern cover for a historical romance; no one would describe it as a “bodice ripper.” Add in the fact that it is a trade paperback ($14) versus a mass market paperback ($8) also seemed unusual to me. This book has gotten a ton of publicity as the movie rights were sold well before publication, and cast announced – Sam Heughan & Constance Wu – so I had very high hopes for this novel by an author I was not familiar with. I enjoyed this Victorian comedy but I’m not sure it lived up to its hype.
It is a very short book, and therein lies the root of the problem. The characters are more caricatures but the plot is fun. There are a lot of laughs to be had here, but not a lot of character development. A bit sexy at times, I was expecting more as this book seems to be aimed at the Millennial generation. I’m all for getting a new generation reading historical romance, but it’s been my experience in dealing with the reading public for 20+ years that they already were. All that said, it is a fast, fun read and I have high hopes for the movie.
Note: Refinery 29 has a short film teaser based on the book. The casting is not the same as the film, but I thought it very well done. Enjoy!
7/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
MR. MALCOLM’S LIST by Suzanne Allain. Berkley (July 28, 2020). (July 21, 2020). ISBN 978-0593197400. 256p.
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