I wanted to rate this book better because I so enjoyed reading Mary Jo Putney. Re-reading this book reminded me of fond memories of reading these relatively "older" authors, who I have loved since a young girl. One of my favorite books is her masterpiece and I remember almost every little detail in that book, which I read at least 15 years ago.
But that is not this book.
I have read The Bargain before and my feeling toward the book has remained the same. It is not a poorly written book. Not at all. Putney's writing and storytelling skill are superb. I absolutely enjoyed reading the story. I would have rated the book 4 stars because it is better than 3 stars but decided on 3 in the end. The story does not really appeal to me. While both lead characters are likable and I actually like the secondary characters, I find the relationship a bit too dull. I think the secondary characters have better relationships than David and Jocelyn. Usually it is the man who needs to learn about love. In this story, it is Jocelyn who needs to learn what love is. David is almost all too gentlemanly, which is not a bad thing at all. He is every bit of a good guy.
My biggest complaint is that the romantic side of the story is lacking. David and Jocelyn spent time together as friends, and that went on for 80% of the book. I didn't really feel there was any attraction. It is not necessary to have the characters sleep with each other to have attraction. But I felt little chemistry between the lead characters. As nice as it was to read the story, I had no emotional connections to the story or the characters, which categorically put this book in the 3 stars for me.