St. Martin's, May 2003, 24.95, 352 pp.
At the age of eighteen, college student Kathleen “Kick” Keswick met Sir Cranner Ballantine sole owner of Ballantine & Company Auctioneers, a very wealthy married man old enough to be her grandfather. She immediately becomes his mistress with her own home, which he paid for as well as bestowing jewels and fashionable clothes on her. His gave her a job at his company where she worked her way up to senior executive assistant, a loyal employee and lover until the day he died.
She transfers that loyalty to his son Sir Benjamin until he runs the business into the ground. Owen Brace, a high-powered industrialist buys the whole company except for the 15% that Kick owns. Owen wants that 15% but he doesn't know who owns it and Kick does nothing to enlighten him. She prepares to leave the firm and start her second career as the Shamrock Burglar and return to her home in Provence, but she is drawn into Owen's web, and despite his shady dealings and illegal activities, becomes engaged to him. When she discovers he betrayed her, she takes her revenge, as only a woman scorned can do.
Marne Davis has written a delicious melodrama starring a heroine who pretends to be so proper, but literally gets away with her crimes. She shows no remorse for her actions and is the epitome of an elegant lady. The antagonist of BRILLIANT doesn't have Kick's class and is more of a felon than a suave cat burglar. Readers will be sympathetic towards the heroine who is living life on her own terms without harming anyone.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner