The Ideal Wife was published by Signet in October 1991 and written by Mary Balogh. Mary Balogh writes an interesting tale of a new Earl being pushed into marriage by his relatives when he meets a poor distant relative named Abigail. She seems the answer to the matchmakers, but she has a secret. What happens next is regency romance that only Balogh can write!
Allan Kass paints a beautiful cover of our couple waltzing. Note her magnificent ball dress to befit a countess! I like the sewn on jewels on her sleeves and the gold brocade trim. I like that it's different colors, too. Note the couple behind them: the man's uniform and the high feather plume in the lady's hair! Also, the ballroom is simply elegant with a wedgwood blue theme.
I think it's interesting that sometimes Allan painted couples by themselves, with just furniture or gardens to set a scene, and other covers have more people on them as a setting. This cover is beautiful and could have stood alone with just our hero and heroine, but having the second couple dancing gives the cover a different feel. Allan mentioned in a letter that it was funny because after he moved to Montana, he had hoped to paint western themed covers, but he got "New England Churches" instead!! Those of us who love regency romances are glad that the publishers gave those books to him to paint!!