The Passions of Chelsea Kane

( 11 )


After the death of her adoptive mother, thirty-six-year-old Chelsea Kane is consumed by the need to uncover her biological heritage. Taking a break from her successful architecture career, she arrives in the New Hampshire town where she was born, determined to learn the truth, her only clue a tarnished silver key.

One of her first discoveries, however, is something quite unexpected: the irresistibly attractive Judd Street. Buoyed by love and resolution, the determined Chelsea ...

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After the death of her adoptive mother, thirty-six-year-old Chelsea Kane is consumed by the need to uncover her biological heritage. Taking a break from her successful architecture career, she arrives in the New Hampshire town where she was born, determined to learn the truth, her only clue a tarnished silver key.

One of her first discoveries, however, is something quite unexpected: the irresistibly attractive Judd Street. Buoyed by love and resolution, the determined Chelsea slowly begins to uncover the dark mystery of her past. But as she inches closer to the truth, she realizes that someone is trying to stop her, first by scaring her, then by trying to harm her. The danger escalates until one terrifying night when all secrets are laid bare.

With memorable characters and writing that will stir the hearts and minds of all readers, The Passions of Chelsea Kane is the kind of compelling narrative that has earned Barbara Delinsky an ever-widening readership.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The clues to the identity of the heroine in this contemporary romance can be obvious and heavy-handed, but the variety of characters Delinsky ( A Woman Betrayed) presents provides ample entertainment. Mystery surrounds the birth of Chelsea Kane. Adopted by the Kanes, she knows only that she was born in Norwich Notch, a small New Hampshire town. An architect, Chelsea gains her first uncertain foothold in Norwich Notch by buying into its largest business, a financially troubled granite company. Locals resent Chelsea's intrusive presence, but two who take to her are Hunter Love (in a friendly sort of way) and ``stunningly male'' Judd Streeter (passionately). Someone who obviously doesn't take to her, however, scares her with late-night telephone calls and torches her barn. Chelsea's efforts to earn a place in the community and in Judd's heart are endangered when she learns she is pregnant. Judd is not the father, and Notch residents disapprove of unwed mothers. In this small-town romance Delinsky refreshingly takes the opportunity to poke fun at social snobbery and moral hypocrisy. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Adopted Chelsea goes looking for her biological mother, in the process bumping into the undeniably handsome Judd Street. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061040931
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/28/2004
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 817,025
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Barbara Delinsky

Barbara Delinsky, a lifelong New Englander, was a sociologist and photographer before she began to write. There are more than 30 million copies of her books in print.


Born Ruth Greenberg, and raised in suburban Boston, Barbara Delinsky worked as a sociology researcher in children's services and was a newspaper photographer and reporter before turning to fiction writing full-time. In point of fact, she never intended to pursue a literary career. But, in the early 1980s, a newspaper article profiling three women who successfully balanced home, family, and romance writing caught her attention. Intrigued, she spent months researching and writing her first novel. It sold -- and Delinsky was off and running.

Praised by critics and fans alike for her character driven studies of marriage, parenthood, and friendship, Delinsky is one of a small cadre of successful women writers (including Nora Roberts and Sandra Brown) who started out writing pseudonymous paperbacks for the category romance genre and muscled their way onto the bestseller lists with hardcover escapist fiction. Yet she is candid about the hard work involved and insists there's no tried-and-true formula that converts automatically to easy money. As if to prove her own point, Delinsky works from eight in the morning to about seven at night, writing in the office above the garage in her Newton, Massachusetts home; doing research; handling interviews; or -- her least favorite part of the job -- touring the country making author appearances.

Over the decades Delinsky has written dozens of novels that have landed on The New York Times bestseller list, including Twilight Whispers (1988), For My Daughters (1994), Three Wishes (1997), Flirting with Pete (2003), and Family Tree (2007). In 2001, she published her first nonfiction title, Uplift: Secrets from the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors. A cancer survivor herself, she has earmarked all the profits from the sale of this book to benefit breast cancer research.

Good To Know

When she isn't writing, one of Delinsky's favorite pastimes is kayaking.

She gets some of her best ideas in the shower. "It's a little harder to write ideas down there," she wrote to fans on her web site, "but I've been known to yell something out to my husband, who does it for me!"

The family cat, Chelsea, is named after her 1992 novel The Passions of Chelsea Kane.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Billie Douglass, Bonnie Drake; born Ruth Greenberg
    2. Hometown:
      Newton, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 9, 1945
    2. Place of Birth:
      Boston, Massachusetts
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Psychology, Tufts University, 1967; M.A. in Sociology, Boston College, 1969

First Chapter

The Passions of Chelsea Kane

Chapter One

From the plush comfort of the velvet love seat that had been brought into the library for the occasion, Chelsea Kane studied the blond-haired, blue-eyed, beak-nosed members of her mother's family and decided that wherever she was from herself, it had to be better stock than this. She detested the arrogance and greed she saw before her. With Abby barely cold in her grave, they had been fighting over who would get what.

As for Chelsea, all she wanted was Abby. But Abby was gone.

Bowing her head, she listened to the whisper of the January wind, the hiss of a Mahler murmur, the snap of her father's pocket watch, the rustle of papers on the desk. In time she focused on the carpet. It was an Aubusson, elegantly subtle in pale blues and browns. "This carpet is your father," Abby had always declared in her inimitably buoyant British way, and indeed Kevin was elegantly subtle. Whether he loved the carpet as Abby had remained to be seen. Things like that were hard to tell with him. He wasn't an outwardly demonstrative man. Even now, when Chelsea raised her eyes to his face in search of comfort, she found none. His expression was as heartrendingly somber as the dark suit he wore. Though he shared the love seat with her, he was distanced by his own grief. It had been that way since Abby's death five days before.

Chelsea wanted to slide closer and take his hand; but she didn't dare. She was a trespasser on the landscape of his grief. He might welcome her, or he might not. Empty as she was feeling, she couldn't risk the rejection.

Finally ready, Graham Fritts, Abby's attorney and the executor of her estate, raised the first of his papers. "'The following are the last wishes of Abigail Mahler Kane ...'"

Chelsea let the words pass her by. They were a grim reminder of what was all too raw, an extension of the elegantly carved coffin, the minister's well-meaning words, and the dozens of yellow roses that should have been poignantly beautiful but were simply and dreadfully sad. Chelsea hadn't wanted the will read so soon, but Graham had succumbed to the pressure of the Mahlers, who had come to Baltimore from great distances for the funeral and didn't want to have to come again. Kevin hadn't argued. He rarely took on the clan. It wasn't that he was weak; he was an eminently capable person. But where he championed select causes at work, there his store of fire ended, rendering him nonconfrontational at home.

Abby had understood that. She had been as compassionate as compassionate ever was, Chelsea realized, and let her thoughts drift. She remembered Abby bathing her in Epsom salts when she had chicken pox, ordering gallons of Chelsea's favorite black cherry ice cream when the braces went on her teeth, excitedly sending copies to all their friends when a drawing of Chelsea's won first prize in a local art show, scolding her when she double-pierced her ears.

More recently, when Abby's system had started to deteriorate, as was typical of long-term polio victims, the tables had been turned, with Chelsea doing the bathing, doting, praising, and scolding, and she had been grateful for the opportunity. Abby had given her so much. To be able to give something back was a gift, particularly knowing, as increasingly they both had, that Abby's time was short.

"'... this house and the one in Newport I bequeath to my husband, Kevin Kane, along with ...'"

Houses, cars, stocks, and bonds, Kevin didn't need any of those things. He was a successful neurosurgeon, drawing a top salary from the hospital and augmenting it with a lucrative private practice. He had been the one to provide for Chelsea's everyday needs, and he had insisted that it be that way. Abby had taken care of the extras.

Often over the years Chelsea had wished she hadn't, for it had only fostered resentment among the clan. Abby's brothers and sisters had felt it wrong that a Mahler trust should be established for Chelsea, who had no Mahler blood. But Abby had been insistent that Chelsea, as her daughter, was to be treated like every other Mahler grandchild. So she had been, technically at least. She had a trust in her name that provided her with sufficient interest to live quite nicely even if she chose never to work.

"'... to my daughter, Chelsea Kane, I leave ...'"

Chelsea was an architect. At thirty-six she was one of three partners in a firm that was landing plum jobs up and down the East Coast. Moreover, she had personally invested in a well-chosen few of those projects, which meant that her profits were compounded. She lived quite nicely on what she earned.

For that reason, perhaps, the accumulation of assets had never been of great interest to her, which was why she barely listened to what Graham read. She didn't want to inherit anything from her mother, didn't want to acknowledge that the woman was dead. Her aunts and uncles didn't seem to have that problem. Trying to look blasé, they sat with their blond heads straight and their hands folded with artful nonchalance in their laps. Only the tension around those pointy noses and their ever-alert blue eyes betrayed them.

"'... to my brother Malcolm Mahler, I leave ...'"

Malcolm got the yacht, Michael the Packard, Elizabeth the two Thoroughbreds, Anne the Aspen condo. Still they waited while Graham read on.

"'As for the rubies ...'"

The rubies. Only then did it occur to Chelsea that that was what her aunts and uncles had been waiting for, not that any of them lacked for jewels -- or yachts, or cars, or horses -- but the rubies were special ...

The Passions of Chelsea Kane. Copyright © by Barbara Delinsky. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 14 of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:


    This was my first Barbara Delinsky book and WOW was i impressed!!! "The Passions of Chelsea Kane" was a non-stop roller coaster of excitement! The charachters were fascinating and mysterious with just the right amount of edge. Once i started to read it i didn't want to stop...and when i had to put down the book i was always thinking about when i could pick it up again:) What more could you ask for in a book...NOTHING!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2006


    I have read a few of Barbara Delinsky's books and absolutley love her writing. Her stories are not typical romance reads, yet thoroughly enjoying and exciting. I was totally drawn into Chelsea's world. This book was excellent, I couldn't put it down! A MUST READ!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2003

    A good story about an adoptee

    What a wonderful story of an adoptee and her struggle to find her birth heritage. When her adoptive mother dies, Chelsea Kane begins to commute between her position as a partner in a lucrative Baltimore architectural firm and her new position as a partner in a granite company in the small New Hampshire town of Norwich Notch where she was born. Her adoptive father strains against her doing this. He cannot understand her need to find her heritage. Trying to please her father, she has a one-night stand with her long time friend and business partner which her father also wants her to marry. Unfortunately, they are better friends than lovers but Chelsea becomes pregnant. The day she plans to tell him is the day she finds out he is going to marry a former girlfriend. Without telling him she is pregnant, she throws herself into the granite business and renovates a farmhouse in her birth town. But all is not well. There are those who don¿t want an outsider in their town. But Chelsea is determined to find her heritage. In the process, she finds a half of her she never knew existed and a man who is willing to stand beside her through it all.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 14, 2012


    This book is a romance novel with some mystery thrown in. Alone Together was a mystery with some romance thrown in.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2005

    A great and warm novel

    I have read a few of Barbara's novels and read this one during and after the holiday season. It was a great relief and took me away from all the post-holiday blahs. I was quite drawn into the characters and setting of which mainly took place in Norwich Notch. It was triumphant and inspirational. I always know that I've read a good book when I am ambivalent about finishing it. I wanted to know the ending yet wanted more after it was done. I look forward to reading more of her books as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2004


    It was the first book I had time to read in a long time. I couldn't put it down. It's not the typical girly romance I thought it might be. It kept my interest from beginning to end (and yes I was sad it had to end).

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Classics such as this stand the test of time

    Chelsea Kane always realizes that she was adopted but her family didn¿t want her to know anything about her biological parents. They destroyed all the records. When her mother dies, her lawyer gives to Chelsea an envelope postmarked Norwich Notch, New Hampshire. Before she makes the decision to go to the town of her birth, she makes love with her best friend and business partner Carl Harper.<P> She becomes pregnant but before she can tell Carl, he informs her he is marrying the woman who is carrying his twins. Needing a place to escape to and wanting to find out about her biological roots, Chelsea moves to the small conservative village of her birth, buys into a business and meets Judd Streeter who is Chelsea¿s foreman on the quarry site. While the two fight their growing feelings for one another, someone in town attempts to scare her into leaving, going so far as to trying to run her over and burning down her home.<P> It has been over eleven years since THE PASSIONS OF CHELSEA KANE was published but classics such as this stand the test of time and remain a strong read when reprinted. The relationship between the heroine and her love is so dynamic and explosive, sparks fly off the pages. The townsfolk are an interesting group who give color and atmosphere to the plot and demonstrate that even in a small hamlet, there remains a huge gap between the classes.<P> Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2001

    Hard to Put Down... Start to Finish

    One of my favorite books to date. Barbara Delinski does a great job with creating chemistry between the characters. This book is a great escape for those of us who need to 'get away' sometimes.

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    Posted January 26, 2010

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