Meagan McKinney, Author, McKinney Meagan, Author . Kensington $23 (320p) ISBN 978-1-57566-787-4

If Edith Wharton had written a bodice-ripping romance novel about Old New York, it would probably read something like McKinney's latest offering (after The Merry Widow). Set in the aristocratic world of 1880s New York, with Astors and Vanderbilts playing cameo roles, the novel tracks a mysterious jewel thief known only as Lady Moonlight, who stalks her prey at upper-crust soirees, masquerading as one of society's own. The elusive Lady Moonlight is actually the striking Mystere Rillieux, an orphan saved during childhood from the slums of the city's tenements by an entrepreneurial leader of a local crime ring, Paul Rillieux, a greedy and abusive man who has taught Mystere the fine art of thievery. Wedging his way into Mrs. Astor's inner circle, Paul casts Mystere as his debutante niece. After a handful of successful heists, Lady Moonlight's true identity is threatened by exposure at the hands of strapping railroad magnate Rafe Belloch, a man who has vowed retaliation against a masked woman who robbed and disrobed him two years earlier. During the pair's dangerous flirtations, Rafe learns Mystere's secret. She steals in order to fund her desperate search for her long-lost brother, Bram—the siblings were forced apart shortly after Paul Rillieux rescued them from poverty. Intrigue, peril and seduction ensue, and a cliffhanger ending paves the way for the next adventure in this planned two-part adventure. Frothy and entertaining, this romance should convince readers to tune in for the next installment. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/15/2001
Release date: 11/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 658 pages - 978-0-7862-3757-9
Mass Market Paperbound - 383 pages - 978-0-8217-7050-4
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4498-8437-6
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