Berkley, Mar 2003, 6.99, 302 pp.
In 1815, Gannon Finn takes his recently orphaned niece Claire to Mrs. Treadwell's Academy for the Elevation of Young Women in Kent. Claire, who witnessed the murders of her parents, is frightened and does not want her Uncle Gannon to leave her. However, she meets two students who take her under their wings and therefore changes her mind about staying here.
Gannon also changes his mind when the headmistress arrives. Twenty years ago in Paris, he offered his heart to Christiane d'Oliveri who rejected it to remain a mistress to a married man and a wife to an elderly male. Though she felt she was gentle in rejecting his offer of marriage, he thought she was cruel. Though he thought he offered his love with kindness, she thought he was a pest who refused to hear her rejection. Now she is the headmistress of a school his niece badly needs to attend so both are on their best behavior but the attraction and their history remain volatile.
The latest Treadwell Regency romance, THE AFFAIR, is an enjoyable tale that sub-genre readers will appreciate as the plot is freshened by starring the headmistress countess as the lead female protagonist. Though the chasm between Christiane and Gannon opens at nuclear weapon meltdown rapidly depletes into a fly swatter, readers will still take delight in the relationship between them. Claire is a wonderful key player while the truth of what happened to her parents will surprise the audience. Finally, Christiane implies that she has to get (Mrs. Treadwell) a man before she can rest on her laurels so fans watch out.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner