Storm Before Sunrise

June Wyndham Davies, Author St. Martin's Press $27.95 (455p) ISBN 978-0-312-10552-5
Set in upstate New York in the middle of the 19th century, this refreshing historical romance combines a cast of colorful characters with an absorbing plot replete with accurate historical detail. Young Melisande Stevens travels from the English orphanage which has been her home since the age of seven to work as a servant in the house of an American physician. After the horrific Atlantic crossing, Melisande arrives only to find that the doctor's family has moved. Friendless and ill, she is rescued by the town's new physician, Dr. Adam Kingsley, who takes her into his household and, after she recovers, offers her a position as a domestic. The linguistically and musically gifted Melisande is clearly not housemaid material and, despite her attraction to Dr. Kingsley, she leaves his home determined to make her own way. What ensues makes for engrossing social history and a first-rate love story between two feisty, headstrong individuals--both with unspoken pasts. Questions are answered and secrets revealed in a completely unexpected plot twist which finds Melisande triumphing both musically and emotionally. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
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