Sonnet, Apr 2002, 6.99, 400 pp.
Though the slave trade has been outlawed in England for a decade, in 1817 the odious business remains thriving. Draco Melling wants to end this nastiness by uncovering the identity of the ringleader. He also believes that same felon is the mastermind behind the stealing of ships and cargo. Finally his prime suspect is his enemy Redmond Sinclair.
At the same time Draco's mother desires a grandchild and selects Ariel Sinclair as her daughter-in-law. Ariel's sister Juliet supports the concept as she believes that only a strong male can keep her sibling and hopefully her brother safe from their father's killer, cousin Redmond. Though not seeking a bride, Draco falls in love but with the wrong sister as he desires Juliet. She returns his deepest feelings, but will sacrifice her own happiness for Ariel even as Draco soon finds his inquiries and the safety of the Sinclair sisters converging.
THE PRETENDER is an action-packed Regency romance that attains its acme when Draco is pursuing his case and protecting the siblings rather than when he woos Juliet. The couple is a delight yet their courtship slows down this historical thriller. Still sub-genre will derive joy from Barbara Miller's entertaining action packed tale and demand a sequel or two from the author.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner