Provocative in Pearls

Written by Madeline Hunter
Review by Jeanne Greene

In Madeline Hunter’s first novels, the vivid language, believable characters, and complex plots brought 14th-century England to life. By Arrangement, By Possession, By Design, and The Protector (2000-2001)—I read them all—and then Hunter’s focus changed. She started writing for a different audience, one that likes simple, sexy novels with history as a backdrop, not a plot component, like Provocative in Pearls.

Provocative in Pearls is the second book (after Ravishing in Red) in a Regency tetralogy about four friends. A wealthy young woman, tricked into marrying an impecunious earl, runs away before the marriage is consummated; friends hide her for two years. In order to keep her money, the earl must find and seduce his wife but—quelle surprise!—they fall in love. It’s a so-so plot, but the writing is witty, and the contrast between the earl in his natural habitat, London, and the bride in her native Lancashire, rings true.

Provocative in Pearls is not Hunter’s best work. You’ll find that in novels listed above, which I highly recommend—but don’t get me wrong. Hunter’s intelligent prose is always a joy to read. Anyone in the mood for a well-written light romance in a historical setting, which includes most of us at times, will enjoy Provocative in Pearls.