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Timothy Mayfield has nearly given up on his search for a wife. Though he is the picture of a fine, social gentleman, Timothy wishes his finances provided a more stable foundation. Then his Uncle Elliott presents to him a solution: participate in his "marriage campaign," and upon approval of his choice for a wife, Timothy's inheritance will be his.
Freed from the constraints of having to marry for money, Timothy is ready to marry for love instead. And he knows exactly what he wants in a wife: youth, optimism, beauty, blonde hair, fine-boned features, shapely shoulders, small waist, blue eyes, button nose, solid fashion sense, a light laugh, low voice, arched eyebrows, fair skin, elegant fingers, quick wit, calm manner, and a dazzling smile.
His friend, Maryann Morrington, an heiress in her own right, tells him outright that his expectations are ridiculous—no such woman exists. Maryann had considered Timothy as a potential suitor for a time, but then their relationship shifted to friendship and she has avoided allowing herself to have feelings for him again.
She agrees to help him find his "perfect wife," because she's certain that the search will render nothing. Until it does. Miss Shaw appears to fulfill every single item on Timothy's list—unlike Maryann who has brown hair, brown eyes, lacks delicate features, and possesses a laugh that is definitely unladylike.
But when Timothy and Miss Shaw begin courting, Timothy realizes something profound. He'd rather spend his time with Maryann. But can he trust his judgment when his heart has led him wrong so many times before?
It is only when Maryann leaves the London season early, that Timothy realizes that he had truly fallen in love with her and that his list of requirements were nothing but fantasy. If he hopes to build a strong relationship, Timothy must convince Maryann that she is the very woman he'd been looking for all along—before it is too late.