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Ann Major

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Marriage at the Cowboy's Demand
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Book Review
Overall: 10
Sensuality: 7
Historical Element: 9

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This is a romance community member review

Review for Mystery Kiss, The
Author: Judith A. Lansdowne
Date of Review: 12/17/03
Reviewed by: Marilyn

Reviewer Comments: Once again I have picked up a book that has captured my imagination, made me smile, laugh and entertained me throughout the entire story. This was a first time experience with this author and one that after finishing this book will again put me on a quest to discover what else she has written. This was such a beautiful love story, not only for the man and woman theme, but a father for his child, a step-mother for her step-children and it just made me feel all over great because of the love for family. To sum it up… this book was PERFECTLY CHARMING and a most PERFECT read!

The heroine, Fluer, Lady Marston was not your drop-dead gorgeous female – rather plain of face, a longish nose, with warm brown eyes but neither was, Atticus Charles Howard, Earl of Hartshire, your usual handsome, virile debonaire hero. Neither were young; but both older with a lot of life’s experiences under their belts. Fluer’s experiences were rather hard, having been married off by her ship-builder father to a member of the ton in an exchange of her fortune, for his title. Her late husband, Lord Marston was a vile, cruel and often brutal man, and Fluer not only put up with his brutality but suffered as well from the snobby English ton who labeled her an ‘encroaching mushroom’. The story takes place a year after the death of Lord Marston and now Fleur, for the sake of her beloved step-daughter Althea, is ready to face the ton. Fluer will endure what she knows will be more snubs so that Althea makes her proper debut in order to take her rightful place in society.

Atticus is a widower with a young son, Will. Here the author shines with the scenes of the interplay and loving devotion between the two. Prior to being married, Atticus, a spy known as the Spectre, worked for the royal family. His job was to gather information on radicals and forestall attempts to topple the monarchy. After marriage he had retired to the country with his wife to a peaceful existence.

Atticus’ auspicious introduction to Fleur is on the road to London where she is suffering from a horrendous case of carriage sickness. He takes charge, helps her with remedies as he suffers from the same ‘motion sickness’ malady. Later reaching London, he discovers the cruelty Fleur has suffered from those in the ton. Atticus decides to champion her both publicly and secretly as he engineers her re-entry into society as an ‘original’. It is not long before he realizes that he has fallen in love with her and this is where it gets so cute as this big loveable gentle giant of a man begins to doubt himself and does his best romancing of her under the guise of the mysterious ‘Montague’.

Now the romance between the main characters is beautiful, sweet and poignant but in addition the reader is treated to a wonderfully robust cast of secondary characters that are just as entertaining from the stepchildren’s romances, to the butlers, the maids and the mysterious Celeste, the dressmaker. AND, on top of all that there is a mystery with a bit of espionage going on in the background. I find it difficult to say enough about this book, other than it was a truly splendid read that will put a smile on your face from start to finish!

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