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Some nights just don’t go as planned.
Now, he glanced in the direction of the doorway and seemed to stiffen. Charlotte followed the direction of his gaze with dismay.
"Say something," he said, bending over to whisper urgently in Charlotte's ear. "Anything--just don't leave me alone with her. Please, you've got to help me!"
Charlotte started as his warm breath played over her neck.
Lady Beatrice floated toward them across the flagstone terrace. "Your Grace," she called.
"I don't see why you think I should--" Charlotte paused as Lady Beatrice neared.
What did he want from Charlotte? Did he hope to make Lady Beatrice jealous? Charlotte could almost smell the faint, metallic odor of an iron trap following Lady Beatrice like stale perfume. Suddenly, Charlotte didn't trust either of her companions in the soft, cold darkness of the terrace.
Lady Beatrice placed a light hand on the man's sleeve. He gazed beseechingly into Charlotte's eyes and she wavered in confusion. She could not protect him from Lady Beatrice, even if that was what he wanted.
Unable to resist the entreaty in his eyes, Charlotte said the first thing that came to mind. "I don't see why you want me to explain the differences between the Garden Tiger and the, um, Buttoned Snout again. It's not difficult, you know. A child could do it. All you have to do is concentrate."
He had asked for her help. A lecture on moths was the best she could do considering the circumstances.
"Yes," he said, his tone humble. "But I'm new to this, uh, that is, I've never appreciated moths before. Couldn't you just go over it one more time?"
"What are you doing out here, Your Grace?" Lady Beatrice asked, her tone sharp. She glanced fromhim to Charlotte. "Miss Haywood," she reluctantly acknowledged. Then she gazed at him, tilting her head back to make him feel taller and emphasize the lovely line of her throat and impressively bare bosom. She smiled and gave a light, tinkling laugh when his eyes followed that perfect curve of flesh. "You don't wish to be compromised, do you? With poor Miss Haywood?"
Her artless question made it clear she knew exactly whom he would prefer to compromise. And it wasn't poor Miss Haywood.
Posted February 17, 2010
What a fun novel! Henry James broke my heart with Isabel Archer in "Portrait of a Lady," but Amy Corwin heals the wound with Charlotte, ambitious, intelligent, outspoken, free-spirited and determined never to give up her independence no matter who seeks her hand in marriage. Not even the most charming, titled, sought-after bachelor in town will tempt her. Of course, she *might* underestimate his sweetness and sex appeal...
Unlike the famously ill-fated Isabel, this American heroine in Europe realizes that a woman just might be able to travel, study and see the world while escorted by a handsome husband. While marriage might place limits on some women's freedom, an idealist like Charlotte can find a free-spirited man. Nathaniel is equally terrified of the institution of marriage, until he finds a woman who won't bore him to tears.
In the midst of Charlotte's journey to self-discovery and fulfillment, this story is filled with murder, mayhem, adventure and surprises. Charlotte's guardians, the Archers, are delightful and wickedly funny people, even if they do live in "stuffy" British society.
This "whodunnit" keeps us guessing to the end, but we may be sure our hero has no blood on his hands, no matter how much circumstantial evidence builds around him. And we'll be sure to read Amy's next novel, in which (rumor has it) the Archers and the Bow Street detective will once again delight faithful readers.
Posted October 5, 2010
No text was provided for this review.