Avon, Jun 2003, 5.99, 384 pp.
In 1881 at the urging of her mother nouveau riche American heiress Sophia Wilson comes to London to marry a title. Sophia hates shopping for a spouse as she has rejected proposals back home because she wants to marry for love. She believes she may have found her love when she meets the “unacceptable Duke” James Langdon.
Needing money, James is also attracted to Sophia, so he courts her. However, he vows to himself to never fall in love with her for fear he would become as out of control and abusive as his father was. James and Sophia marry and share a wonderful honeymoon. However when they reach his estate, James turns into a prim and proper aristocrat, who deserts his wife when he is not mistreating her with cold scorn. Still Sophia thinks she can reach her spouse that she loves.
When the tale focuses on the lead characters' relationship, even with James' incredulous alteration from avoidance to near worship, fans obtain a strong late Victorian romance. When the story line switches to continental suspense, it loses some of its “American invasion” momentum. In her debut, Julianne MacLean keeps her plot fresh due to the antics of the dysfunctional Langdon family that bewilder the heroine.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner