Kensington, Jan 2004, 14.00, 336 pp.
In 1793, Marie-Laurie Vernet works as a scullery maid, but probably spends a good portion of her time dexterously fending off the unwanted advances of the aristocracy without offending any of these males who could easily destroy her. Marie-Laurie is probably better at eluding the men than she is at serving tea. Her only exception happens to be book smuggler Viscount Joseph d'Auvers-Raimond whom she met when he became ill in her late father's bookstore.
Joseph shares Marie-Laurie's passion for books and has gone so far as to draft an erotic tale that stars the woman who haunts his dreams, Marie-Laurie. When Joseph learns that his odious father has chosen Marie-Laurie to warm his bed, he makes her his mistress to keep her safe. Instead of sex, they discuss books and soon they fall in love. However, anything beyond being his mistress is forbidden for this duo and betrayal looms on the horizon.
Historical romance readers will appreciate this heated historical romance that occurs in France on the eve of the Revolution. The story line provides insight into what is happening in the last decade before Madam Guillotine began running the country. Being passionate for more than just each other as the lead couple are bibliophiles adds layers to their personalities. Though key secondary players like his sire seem to vile, readers will enjoy Pam Rosenthal's delightful THE BOOKSELLER'S DAUGHTER.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner