“I fear we should not suit, sir!” said Kate.
As the fifth young man to offer for her hand that afternoon revealed his purpose and his "prospects," even Kate had to laugh at the absurd prank her brother's friends were playing. But once years ago, she remembered, she had refused such a proposal, and there had been sad consequences. Now all she had to remember that suitor by was a legacy--one, her haughty neighbor Lord Winterton felt, no lady of honor would accept.
“The Seventh Suitor” is one of the very best books I've read this year, and from what I've read by Matthews until now, my definite favorite.
Having said that, let's see how I motivate my statement :) First, the blurb is not very clear, I have read the book and I understand how anyone else could... The book begins with Kate, the heroine, receiving 5 wedding proposals, all in the same afternoon.
But why “the seventh”? Except for these 5 prank suitors, there was a first one, years ago, the brother of the Earl of Winterton, whom Kate has also refused. Nothing extraordinary about that, but the trouble was that Carl, this first suitor, did not take well the refusal and threatened to blackmail Kate into accepting him, or else she would be blamed for his joining the army and putting his life in danger. Of course the worse happened and he died. Noone blamed Kate, but Carl also left her with an inheritance (that he begged to be accepted as a sign of forgiveness for his bad behavior).
So, the presumptive seventh suitor, the Earl of Winterton, Carl's brother, who was never aware of the reason why Kate accepted the inheritance, has always been very annoyed with Kate for being so hypocrite as to accept the inheritance after refusing the marriage proposal. And these are the markings for the *best enemies* relation they develop.
I won't get into detail about how the plot develops, there have to remain a few surprises to discover :) But I have to mention a few wonderful scenes, like the one where the hero is left unclothed in his mistress's house, and the one to discover and help him is Kate. Or the lovely scene at the hero's house, in the hero's bedroom, with the hero having ... measles :) Also, there is also a nice secondary romance.
As for the characters, imagine a Kate who is a lovely mixture between Elizabeth Bennett and Emma Woodhouse (she does try to manage everyone's lives), and the hero Lord Winterton, the classical dour faced hero, with a very correct behavior and occasional glimpses of tenderness. Plus he is made fun of in a very grand way from time to time.