FICTION

The Counterfeit Mistress

Jove: Berkley. (Fairbourne Quartet, Bk. 3). Oct. 2013. 312p. ISBN 9780515151381. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781101625675. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
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Marielle Lyon has been a go-between for members of the French émigré community in London, helping them to sell their antiques to Emma, who despite being married to the Earl of Southwaite still anonymously runs her family's auction house. But Gavin Norwood, Viscount Kendale, is convinced that Marielle is a French spy, passing coded documents to the coast to be transported back to her home country. Kendale isn't a government operative, but he does have the means and the men to thwart any such plots and perhaps gain a measure of revenge from the debacle that was the Battle of Toulon. To Marielle, her work is personal, too, but having Handsome Stupid Man dogging her steps is irritating at best and dangerous to her plans at worst. The French beauty intrigues the saturnine Kendale, as each is haunted by the past and trying to set things to rights.
VERDICT The third title in the series (The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne; The Conquest of Lady Cassandra) fills in one more piece in this exciting pre-Napoleonic puzzle with charm and emotional twists that will keep readers enraptured. Highly recommended.

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