Wanted: one husband, not too particular. Small dowry, several books, sundry furnishings, and elderly aunt included. Idlers, time-wasters, and gentlemen with other attachments need not apply.
Herione: Sophie Valentine is a spinster by choice. She had an offer once but when she saw him make googly eyes at a maid after their indiscretion in the billiard room, well she knew she couldn't accept. Sophie wanted someone to look at her the way her ex-lover looked at that maid. Could she ever find that? Impossible now that she is ruined! Scarred from the night, literally, her sister-in-law takes every opportunity to let her know that even if she wasn't turning 30, was free from scandal, her scar would make her non-marriageable.
Hero: Lazarus Kane has been looking for Sophie since the night she jumped from the balcony and caught herself on his ladder, leaving her scarred. When he overhears someone discussing her ad, he knows where to find her and he makes haste to be the first applicant. Will she accept him? To further his suit he takes up residence down the driveway from her brother's place and spends much time outdoors, shirtless (very scandalous, but the ladies loved it!) Time is ticking and Lazarus only has so much.
Review: Sophie was very immature for a thirty year old spinster. She climbed trees, read naughty books inside books on sermons, swapped kisses with a stranger, etc. (All this makes her very improper, but not very spinsterish.) She claims to want a solemn upright marriage but the girl is clearly looking for someone willing to break rules with her. Lazarus is the man for the job. He wants to break rules because he is socially beneath her in terms of class and education and has a time bomb over his head which could kill him or imprison him, whichever comes first.
I never really got why Sophie wasn't jumping at the chance to be with Lazarus, considering her terrible home life with her sister-in-law and controlling pompous brother. The whole bait and switch with the ad seemed wrong. She's not picky until the guy shows up at her doorstep. Me? I'd be relieved it is not some old guy, but apparently that was what Sophie was hoping to get.
Then Hartley shows up, the man that ruined her and then went on to have an affair with a maid, and he wants to marry her too. I was aggravated with Sophie for entertaining it. Why should she be okay with Hartley now when she wasn't then?
My favorite scene was inside the schoolhouse when Lazarus gives Sophie his lessons in passion. Hot.