cover image Sugar and Spice

Sugar and Spice

DeWanna Pace. Jove Books, $5.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-515-11970-1

The first offering in a new series of historical romances, each set in a small American town, opens with the story of saccharine-sweet Rachel Sloane who travels to Valiant, Tex., in May 1882 and impersonates her malicious employer, Joanna Tharp, in order to keep Joanna's first flame from spoiling Joanna's new life in Richmond, Va. As Rachel masquerades as the despicable Joanna, she is charmed by the frontier town's stock characters (the madam with the heart of gold, the Annie Oakley-like frontierswoman) and of course falls deeply in love with Ben McGuire, the rejected swain that Joanna despises. Although the domestic details are lovingly rendered and the relationships are tenderly drawn, too much sweetness and not enough spice, coupled with needlessly melodramatic romantic complications prevent the novel from truly satisfying. (Nov.)