The Jane Austen Marriage Manual

Katherine Shaw is confident, successful and unworried about her looming 40th birthday. But then Kate is blindsided by the loss of her job, her house and her grandmother. She's grieving and broke when she's offered the chance to write a freelance article about marrying for money. In Jane Austen's day, women frequently married to better themselves, so why not now? Is Kate too old, or can she still marry for money?

This sends Kate (now known as "Lady Katherine Billington Shaw" thanks to some scheming by her best friends) jetting off around the world, using the remnants of her dwindling retirement fund. She gets in with an international polo crowd and meets a handsome billionaire named Scott. Kate decides Scott is the man for her--only he can provide her and her family financial security--and pursues him from Palm Beach to St. Moritz to London, to the disapproval of her friends and family. But there's a flaw in Kate's plan: handsome, irritating Griff Saunderson, who works at a bed and breakfast and keeps cropping up in Kate's life in unexpected ways.

Kim Izzo makes this extravagant tale surprisingly believable, grounding Kate's story in the financial meltdown of 2008. And, in spite of Kate's occasional snarkiness and undeniable avariciousness, she remains likable; her antics to preserve the character of "Lady Kate" and worm her way into Scott's life are downright funny. The themes may not be new, but The Jane Austen Marriage Manual puts a timely, entertaining spin on the classic "love or money?" debate. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm

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