Avon, Feb 2003, 7.50, 400 pp.
Because he has heard of the man's highly regarded reputation and skill as a thief-taker that has made him wealthy, controlling Lord Radnor hires Nick Gentry to find his missing fiancee. The trail is difficult because Charlotte Howard vanished two years ago even though Radnor already bought her from her parents. She disappeared because she realized how dominating her future spouse is and what he would do to her.
Two months later Nick believes he has found Charlotte masquerading as a companion to an elderly woman. Through his connected in-law, Nick, disguised as a spoiled Lord Sydney, obtains an invitation to visit Lord Westcliff's estate where he believes Charlotte resides as Lottie Miller. However, once Nick meets Lottie, he finds he likes her very much and cannot just give her over to his odious client. Westcliff points out that her only way to avoid running and Radnor is to marry someone else, preferably him. However, Charlotte declines his kind offer, but agrees to marry Nick, who says he will protect her and her parents while she only has to sleep with him. As they become better acquainted they fall in love, but Radnor believes she is his possession and plans to gain ownership.
This historical romance will provide much pleasure to fans of the sub-genre due to the charming lead protagonists. The story line is at its strongest when this duo takes center stage. The villain is so sociopathic, he does not seem like a character. Nevertheless Lisa Kleypas purveys a story that caters to the tastes of the early Victorian readers.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner