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Publisher's Summary

When Anne Burnett is forced into a proxy marriage with Aidan Black, a dashing Scottish laird with a reputation for unpredictability, traveling to the wilds of 19th-century Scotland to meet him is only a small concern. Her biggest worry is how to inform her new husband that he is married.

Falling in love with his castle and the fierce loyalty Aidan inspires in his people, Anne finds her greatest challenge is yet to come: somehow she must find her way past her husband's proud exterior and convince him to consummate their marriage. Virginia Leishman's captivating performance of this sweeping love story captures every breathless insight into the mysterious wonders of love.

Cathy Maxwell writes clever, engaging romances that find the many answers to the question, "Why do people fall in love?"

©2001 Cathy Maxwell; (P)2006 Recorded Books LLC

Critic Reviews

"Maxwell mixes humor with meticulous characterization to create memorable stories." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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Different Scottish Regency

Anne Burnett is forced to marry by proxy some obscure Scottish lunatic, Mad Earl Tiebauld, Aidan Black, whose sister arranged the marriage. Anne travels to her new home only to receive a very unfriendly welcome by her spouse, who not only rejects her, but he wants her back in London. He does some terrible things to get her to leave like making her muck out the stables, feeding a group of people with no way to feed them, cleaning the castle that hasn't been touched for years, You get the idea. However, the English transplant ignores the irritable Scot and soon her actions gain the respect and support of his clan. To her chagrin, Anne also captures Aidan's black heart just as she now loves him too. THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT is an amusing well written Regency romance starring two charming and not so mad (except in love) lead characters. When the story line stays with the main plot the battle of the sexes, it is an absolute delight that will provide fans with a powerfully pleasurable read. There is a political subplot,cleverly inserted and tied back to the prime theme, in which Adain is conflicted on whether to join the Scottish uprising or fighting for rights of his people through the law. Please Remember this is a regency romance not to 30 disk Diana Gabaldon book. This is just a fun light historical, read by Cathy Maxwell.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


This is the sort of book that I read, and while entertaining in the moment, forgot all about since. Not a bad story, but just forgettable. I would recommend the book if you just need to forget about everyday life for a while and listen to a predictable "feel happy" lovestory.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Petra
  • Mentor on the Lake, OH United States
  • 01-14-08

Good Story

I enjoyed the story, and the Narration was good. The Reader used different Accents and Voices for different Characters.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • w.a.m.
  • 1965BG, Heemskerk, The Netherlands
  • 04-09-07

Great book

Lovely book to listen to. About 9 hours of just simply listening!!!

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Andrea
  • Linz, Austria
  • 05-01-09

Enjoyed it very much

Sweet romance, everything you want from a book in this genre. The narration was outstanding!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

good book

I did not care for the narrator in this book. i thought the scottish voices were good but the english were , well, american sounding. I also prefer differences in mail and female voices and did not get that in this book. but the story was pleasant enough, the narration does not kill the book. I have about 20 mninutes left so have not gotten to the epilogue but overall it is not a book i regret spending a credit on. I like the lengthy reads, they feel much more worth the money.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Improved as it went.

This started off so, so. However it took a twist and a little bit of intrigue and that turned it into a good listen.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Selin
  • Greenwood, MO, United States
  • 03-03-10

Truly PAINFUL to listen to!

OK! So maybe I am spoiled by Gabaldon and expect too much...
This book was truly painful to listen to. I finished it because I had agreed with a friend to read it and discuss it later. Otherwise, I would have erased it!
This book is borderline plagiarized. The characters, the setting, the time period - everything is reminiscent of Outlander. I think Maxwell wrote this just to see suckers like me would buy the novel!
Narrator was just as horrible! She makes ruminant sounds between words/sentences. Her voice changes leaves a lot to be desired. Really has no Scottish accent so when she tries to have one, it comes out really fake.
Storyline - granted it is only 8 hours but it's like this: there are some people who can build a castle with what they're given and others who can't even build a wall with the same material.
Maxwell is the latter! Characters are undeveloped, all of a sudden she throws something out and expects that to take care of questions about the why/when/how without any explanation. The heroine is comical! Aiden is just as horrid. I was hoping toward the end Maxwell may redeem herself but no such luck.
In the beginning I thought this may be a Harlequin type something but Maxwell can't even make it up to that level. The only time they are "joined" caused more laughter for its idiocy then anything else.
There is the annoying best friend who is bad but not really! Just as he's about to commit 'bad' things, he stops because he 'realizes' how he's not really himself. WHAT?
Then, the old but not so good plotline of...let's make her run back home that is guessed it - VERY POORLY!
If you want torture - go ahead.
If you're a Gabaldon fan, DON'T do it!

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Kathy
  • United States
  • 03-10-08

Not Gabaldon

After the Outlander series, I may be ruined for all other historical romances.

The characters in the Marriage Contract could have been named Dumb and Dumber. The sexy parts made me want to find some hemlock to drink.

I could listen to Outlander dozens of times but I would be physically ill if I had to listen to one more minute of this drivel

6 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Wallen
  • Danderyd, Sweden
  • 09-02-08

The writer lost her grip

This book starts out quite nice - a sweet story about a poor young lady and her efforts to make a living in a world long ago, and which is dominated by men. If the author would have had the courage to continue the book in that vein, it would have been both believable and probably nice to continue to listen to. But, somewhere in the middle of this book, the author lets go of her ambition to create a good read and falls for the urge to create a happy ending of the Hollywood type (the one that makes people cry at movies, but which bears absolutelky no resemblance to what happened earlier in the book/film). She also indulges quite a lot descriptions of sex - but also that bears little resemblance to reality and to the nature of the characters as earlier described in the book. She even - beleive it or not - throws in a sword fight right after the first sweltering sex story. This is romance at its worst.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Christiane
  • 02-23-08

Story is enchanting

The Story is nice if you are in for a romantic adventures story. But the narrator is spoiling the joy of listing a little bit as it sound to me that she is chewing gum while reading. If you can ignore this than this is a good story to listen to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Quantum Phase
  • 05-12-10

An Excellent Romantic Adventure

A very enjoyable listen. Set against the background of Jacobite rebellion and Scottish clearance, love flourishes after an unpromising beginning.

Aidan's release of a prisoner from the clutches of the English is one of the most ingenious, daring and sensual plots that I have read in quite a while!

Unlike the previous reviewer, I found the narration by Virginia Leishman nearly perfect. Her reading brought the characters to life in a way that could hardly be bettered ... at least for me.

I will definitely buy more of these audio versions when/if available and in the meantime will continue reading hard copy from Maxwell's extensive back-list.