Comment: This book sometimes is a freebie on some retailers and during one of those moments, I got it, for the blurb did sound as if this story would be something fun and some comments by other readers intrigued me enough to feel i'd want to try it too.
In this story we meet lady Patience Kendall, who has sailed to America to marry but her intended dies before she even arrives. While this wouldn't be a love marriage, Patience is still left adrift in a place she doesn't know. In order to go back to England, and using her family name as an advantage, she promises the families of four young ladies that they will marry someone with a title, using the marquess of Andover as a name the others would recognize. However, the truth is Patience doesn't have those kind of connections, but she does plan on helping the ladies and, thus, they embark on captain Grant's ship, which is the beginning of her attraction to him and vice versa and a whole set of adventures and shenanigans. But once arrived in England, they must face the fact society has expectations and if they don't succeed, it could be the downfall of them all, including Patience...but will captain Grant be there to help again?
This book was first published in 1999 under a different name, for a specific romance line (I assume with limited page count and so on) but this most recent release has been edited by the author to include more scenes, which were not in the original publication. Since I didn't read the other publication, this would be all new to me anyway, but let it be said it is so, in case readers might find the original (smaller) edition.
The story is fun and I did smile in many scenes, especially the ones while the women were on the ship and how they would create or be in so many silly situations. In fact, the book is divided into two parts: while they are on the ship and what happens once they are among English society. Like other readers have said, I too preferred the ship part, for it offered the funniest and most entertaining scenes, as if the characters' ridiculous behavior could be more excused in such a setting, and which I felt turned into something less fun and more along the childish description, when they arrived in London.
As it happens with so many of the things I read and that I end up not enjoying as much, I think the issue is the clash between the tone of the story and the supposed "rules" a society/world has, and that by ignoring it the story lacks stability or reason for being. The girls come from America and they are used to a certain way of life, but in England is different and I can't accept the idea that while they knew/were told about the marriage mart and titled gentleman they should marry and were not about other issues such as how to behave in such a society so they could be accepted.
I suppose the idea was to enhance even more the differences between them and the fun aspects of that. However, I quickly got bored with the lack of seriousness in some situations and the idea these girls, no matter how innocent, would not even have the common sense to understand some things by how others acted... it feels the silly scenes were just comic relief and this did ruin my enjoyment a little.
Then the romance... what started as promising, with secrets between them, with an attraction which was not initially something they both wanted but the more they got to know about and see each other in the ship, the more they realized this other person was special. Although some scenes were very unlikely for the time, it's like the ship was a world apart and I could more easily accept they would fall in love as if in a bubble. I even excused the lack of some better characterization.
Once in England, their relationship developed among even more unlikely scenarios, if that was even possible, and I felt the author could have done this so much better. I can't say or because this sort of edited for the recent publishing, so the adjustment to what existed might have had some flaws or because her writing style just didn't seem to be very cohesive. As individuals, both Grant and Patience were interesting people, but as part of a fun plot, I think what made them special was lost among too much lack of consistency.