A yeomanlike romance, with a heavy emphasis on the uncanny. Anatole St. Leger, a wild 18th-century hero complete with long,...

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THE BRIDE FINDER

A yeomanlike romance, with a heavy emphasis on the uncanny. Anatole St. Leger, a wild 18th-century hero complete with long, dark hair and the prerequisite scar across his forehead, has a lot more going for him than just his black clothing and his rough and ravishing ways. Anatole has supernatural powers: He is clairvoyant; he can move objects with the power of his mind; he knows when visitors are approaching his home and who they are; and he can unlace the heroine's corset without laying a rough and ravishing finger on her. Even the scar on his face is the result of his ""terrible"" St. Leger gift. Apparently Anatole's mother wasn't comfortable with the more magical St. Leger family talents; when little Anatole shyly levitated a bouquet of flowers in her direction, she panicked and threw a vase at him. Poor Anatole was brought up loveless and alone, hating his aptitude for sorcery. In order to bring some warmth to his crenellated castle (complete with ghost), Anatole summons the Bride Finder (the Reverend Septimus Fitzleger), and asks him to find a hearty, large-bosomed wife and bring her home to Cornwall. (Apparently, St. Leger men whose brides are not chosen by the Bride Finder are cursed.) Instead, Fitzleger brings tiny, fairylike Madeline Breton. Madeline is sensible, forthright, and outspoken; she doesn't believe in ghosts, and much of Anatole's time is spent keeping the truth from her. He is also distressed by his inability to elicit from Madeline the famous ""grand passion"" that St. Leger wives are supposed to feel for their husbands. (St. Legers pledge themselves to their mates not only until death but also through eternity.) The castle ghost, Prospero, a Medieval ladies' man, advises his descendant to love her--""simply love her."" There's also a mystery involving the St. Legers' archenemies, the Mortmains, but it's clunky, poorly conceived, and less interesting than the bedroom prestidigitation. Unsurprising but satisfying.

Pub Date: May 1, 1998

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Fawcett/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1998