Avon, Aug 2002, 6.99, 384 pp.
In 1819, Princess Tatiana Pruzinsky must find the Heavens of Avalonia, jewels that will legitimize her claim to the throne of the Kingdom of Greater Avalonia. In 1767, her great-aunt Sophia smuggled the jewels to England during dangerous times. Tatiana plans to visit the homes of the descendants of the three ladies (Hutchins, Helmsley, and Cranston) who graciously helped Sophia upon her arrival in England. Tatiana pretends she is writing a biography of her great-aunt. To further disguise her mission, Sophia asks the lord she deserted after only one week of marriage, Matthew Weston to pretend to be her spouse.
Matt remains angry with his wife. After she left, he learned about her royal blood. Still, needing money, Matt accepts Tatiana's offer to pay him to be her husband though his hidden motive for agreeing is to know why she left. As they pretend to be what they really are, both want to forget the other, but love flourishes making regret the end state.
The story line is exciting and the lead male character is a likable individual trying to recover from love lost. However, Tatiana is an unpleasant person as she is a phobic liar who fabricates even when there is no reason to do so. This makes it very difficult for readers to empathize with her plight leading to the question of whether she has the moral fortitude to ascend to the throne. Still the tale furnishes readers with an engaging historical tale, as fans will wonder if Matt will stick around long enough to learn the truth.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner