Pocket, Jun 2003, 6.99, 384 pp.
is a major surprise for this reviewer as the queen of governess romances Christina Dodd easily switches into a delightful contemporary tale that, as far as I know, is her first modern day story.
When their parents were declared dead after vanishing, the three Prescott sisters were separated by the Texas foster care system as each went to a different home. Seven years later, Hope lives up to her first name as she optimistically searches for her two siblings and somewhat pessimistically her parents.
Hope works for a telephone service in Boston, but knows she needs a better paying job to finance the expensive search that is her obsession. When CEO Zach Givens calls for his messages, he acts so cold and aloof, Hope concludes he has to be the business mogul's butler. He continues the masquerade and when they finally meet, the attraction lights up New England. However, neither trusts in love so anything permanent seems out of the question.
Though a kidnapping sidebar slows down the tale, this is a charming, often humorous, romantic romp with moral and social questions to serve as a strong base. The lead couple is a fine pair needing each other in every way one can imagine yet unable to put faith in love or their beloved. Fans of the contemporary sub-genre will welcome Ms. Dodd's sequel(s) starring a lost sister or two.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner