JUST NORTH OF BLISS

Alice Duncan, Author
Alice Duncan, Author . Zebra $5.99 (315p) ISBN 978-0-8217-7277-5
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Set against the backdrop of the Chicago World's Fair, this genteel romance sets prissy Rowena Belle Monroe on a collision course with Yankee photographer Win Asher. Forced by financial circumstances to earn her living as a nanny, Belle is compelled to leave Georgia and come to New York. On a trip to the fair with her employers and two charges, Belle is spotted by Win, the fair's photographer. Stunned and inspired by Belle's beauty, Win tries to persuade her to model for a series of photographs, but she's none too eager to fall in line with his plans. To Belle, Win embodies all the traits she abhors in Yankees, but after many encounters set against the carefully painted portrait of the fair, she surrenders to him both emotionally and physically. Duncan (Coming Up Roses) plays on the cultural differences between the North and South, contrasting Belle's impeccable manners and genteel ideals with Win's assertiveness and ambition. Although Belle will annoy readers at first with her old-fashioned ideals—she finds photography "morally repugnant" and thinks only loose women wear makeup—she slowly and believably evolves into an empathetic heroine. Unlike many of the highly sensual romances that are available today, this comic confection is light on physical fireworks but heavy on heated banter. (May)

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