LADY SOPHIA'S LOVER
Lisa Kleypas, . . Avon, $7.50 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-380-81106-9
Against the grit and glamour of London's crime-fighting Bow Street operation, Kleypas weaves an exceptional early-Victorian-era romance that is driven by much more than mere sexual attraction and sizzling loves scenes (of which there are plenty here). Political, social and familial conflicts heat up this story, and not all of the resolutions come easily. Ever since her younger brother died in prison, Sophia Sydney has had one goal in mind—to find the magistrate who sent her brother to prison, worm her way into his office and his heart and then destroy him both politically and emotionally. Handsome Ross Cannon, London's most powerful and irreproachable magistrate, is not the hard-hearted devil she had expected, however. Known as the Monk of Bow Street for his celibacy following his wife's death, Ross is fair and forgiving, which Sophia soon learns when she takes up a position as his office clerk and housekeeper. The chemistry between the pair is palpable, but several obstacles stand in the way of their happiness, not the least of which is the shadow of Sophia's brother. With the exception of Sophia, who is given to histrionics, Kleypas's characters are well drawn and refreshingly levelheaded. Even her villain, a famed "thieftaker," displays surprising dimensions. Through deft plotting and simple yet stylish prose, Kleypas distinguishes herself as a master of her craft.
Reviewed on: 04/29/2002