Avon, Jan 2004, 5.99, 384 pp.
In 1844 Jane's dad informs that he secretly arranged for her to marry William Chadwick. Jane is upset because not only did he go behind her back, she does not want to wed anyone especially shallow William. Worse she wonders if her father sold her to keep a major customer satisfied as William buys commodities from her dad's estate.
Actually William hides five years of living dangerous by working for her father overseas. He finds himself attracted to Jane and wants her to feel the same way. However, he pretends to be a nineteenth century foppish nerd because he fears to show her or anyone the real William; she and the Ton might find him lacking. Jane is falling love with the real William that she has seen too few glimpses of escaping from his mask.
This is an engaging Victorian romance that will please fans of the sub-genre due to the delightful cast. The story line moves quickly forward as William goes out of his way to hide his real persona from Jane, who has conquered his heart, for fear of rejection. However, she knows he is NO ORDINARY GROOM, but wonders why he is hiding from her. Their relationship makes Gayle Callen's tale a fine reading experience.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner