The Most Improper Miss Sophie Valentine

Written by Jayne Fresina
Review by Nanette Donohue

Sophie Valentine feels like a burden on her family. A broken engagement and a minor scandal have kept suitors at bay, and there aren’t many eligible men visiting the small town of Sydney Dovedale. After another spat with her family, Sophie rashly places an advertisement for a husband in the Farmer’s Gazette — and she gets a nibble in the form of Lazarus Kane, a handsome stranger with a secret to hide. Though Sophie’s attracted to Lazarus, she’s hesitant to commit, and becomes even more hesitant when an old flame arrives, further complicating matters.

The small-town setting and focus on characters rather than contrived suspense make Fresina’s debut different from the typical Regency. Sophie is a spirited heroine with an insatiable curiosity about life and love, and Lazarus is persistent without being creepy. There’s plenty of charm, and the secondary characters provide extra entertainment without detracting from the main story. Readers who enjoy straightforward, lighthearted love stories will find a good one here.