Zebra, Aug 2001, 5.99, 352 pp.
Cynda Madison hates restoration projects as she wanted to simply paint, but a struggling artist must eat. She currently works for the Hope Springs Historical Society, which plans the major July 4th festival to raise money for the restoration of the once glorious Chesterfield Hotel. Cynda cleans a portrait of handsome Prince Dimitri Karakov, artist unknown. When she learns that Dimitri was killed at the Chesterfield in 1889, Cynda is unable to resist learning more about the tragic figure whose picture attracts her.
In a hope chest, Cynda finds the painting's nameplate. However touching the nameplate transports Cynda back in time to when the Chesterfield was in it glory. She tries to warn the arrogant Dimitri who ignores her admonition, but still hires her to paint his portrait. As they fall in love, Cynda worries that her beloved will die even while she is returned to her biological place in time.
The third of five Chesterfield Hope Chest time travel romances, GRAND DESIGN, is a delightful tale. The story line beguiles the audience as a modern independent woman deals with a Victorian aristocrat and visa versa. The lead couple is fun to observe together though Cynda too easily adapts to her new environment. The return of some characters from the first two tales (see Pam McCutcheon's ENCHANTMENT and Paula Gill's FIRE WITH FIRE) augments the story with a feel of a summer homecoming. Karen Fox shows her diverse talent with this charming prince of a tale that will send readers including this reviewer seeking the previous her novels and the series other two books.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner