Five Star, Jun 2003, 26.95, 299 pp.
In 1885 Washington DC, a distraught Melanie Shaw informs her beloved stepdaughter Sierra that someone is trying to blackmail her with her past ruining her second husband, a US Senator. Not wanting to disturb her father who is working to keep his country from violating a treaty with the Indians, Sierra decides to travel to England in order to ferret out the source of the extortion. Both Shaw females wonder if Melanie's first husband, declared dead from a ship accident, actually survived.
In London, the wealthy Sierra announces that she plans to go home married to a title. Spymaster Fitz Kent refuses to accept Sierra's seemingly guileless answer as he feels she is too beautiful and rich to marry just a title. He begins trailing her rationalizing that he needs to learn what her agenda really is though deep in his gut he knows he is attracted to the American. While they fall in love she needs his skills just to stay one step ahead of a dangerous blackmailer.
THE SHOCKING MISS SHAW is similar to many of the recent bookstore invasion of wealthy Americans and English aristocrats falling in love. However, the investigation into who is the blackmailer adds mystery elements that freshen up the story line. Though Sierra seems a bit too foolhardy and brave, she and Fitz make for quite a couple starring in an irresistible Victorian romantic suspense novel.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner