St. Martin's, Dec 2003, 6.99, 416 pp.
In Belize City, a colony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, artist Seraphina Treadwell watches three preadolescent sisters Amanda, Beatrice, and Camille. The parents of the young girls and her husband journey into the nearby jungle in search of the ruins of ancient civilizations. Six months pass without a word from the three travelers when word arrives that the missing father's brother has become an earl.
Three months later, Seraphina and her three charges arrive at the London townhouse of their uncle Carden Reeves. The aristocrat wants nothing to do with his nieces because he now that he is the earl he enjoys his hedonist lifestyle and doesn't want children to change that. Carden persuades the impoverished Seraphina to watch his half-brother's litter so that the trio does not interrupt his activities. However, soon he falls in love with the four female intruders. They reciprocate, but her allegedly deceased husband shows up ready to cause trouble if it means filling his pockets.
Historical romance readers will welcome this warm tale of a self-indulgent individual falling in love with the four female invaders. The story line entertains the troops as Seraphina takes Carden to task for his lack of commitment towards the welfare of his nieces. Though a suspense spin caused by her husband takes a little away from the strength of a powerful relationship drama, sub-genre fans will enjoy this tale and look forward to future stories starring Carden's pals finding responsibility worth living for.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner