Thomas employs grand misunderstanding (as she did in 2008’s Private Arrangements) to motivate this Victorian romance, which is replete with perfect period touches. The marquess of Vere fakes stupidity so no one will suspect he’s investigating Edmund Douglas for fraud—and murder. Douglas’s niece, Elissande, is thoroughly fooled and plots to snare the marquess and escape her vicious uncle. Through a comedy of accidents involving rats, spicy Victorian parlor games, and sneaking around hallways at night, Elissande tricks Vere into marriage. As attraction grows, she wants to admit her motivations, but Vere shuts his conniving bride out as Douglas swears revenge. Though both story line and misunderstandings feel contrived at times, Thomas writes with genuine wit and sympathy, and when hero and heroine actually connect, the humorous, graceful writing transcends a creaky plot. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/26/2010 Release date: 05/01/2010 Genre: Fiction
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