Bestselling author Susan Wiggs once again delights readers with her portrayal of unconventional women and the men who learn to love them. Abigail Cabot, the awkward, dowdy daughter of a powerful senator and sister to reigning beauty Helena, loves nothing more than stargazing. In fact, that's what she's doing when she discovers a couple in a passionate embrace in the garden. Embarrassed, Abby escapes, dropping her handkerchief in her hurry. Imagine her shock when the gentleman seducing the president's sister in plain view turns out to be freshman congressman James Calhoun. The rake's knowing winks and forward manner rile Abby like no one else ever has, not even the object of her long-standing unrequited love, Lt. Boyd Butler, the vice president's son. But nothing is as it seems in Wiggs's wonderful world. The ugly duckling turns into a swan, thanks to a fairy godmother in the form of a talented seamstress, but the prince is a surprise to everyone, including the newly transformed Abby. Meanwhile, the beautiful Helena is in love with a thoroughly unsuitable man, their next-door neighbor, absent-minded professor Michael Rowan, the only man who doesn't think Abby's affinity for astronomy is unnatural. But it appears that no one is going to get what they wish for--or worse, maybe they will. Susan Wiggs's deft story telling keeps audiences guessing all the way to the last page and leaves us wanting more! Hopefully Helena and Michael Rowan's story isn't too far behind. --Alison Trinkle
From Publishers Weekly
Although Wiggs's newest (after The Firebrand) is set in Washington, D.C., during the late 19th century, there's a flavor of Regency England to this delightful romp. Wiggs takes the usual Regency personas a rake, a feisty heroine, snobbish society members and a dressmaker as gifted as any fairy godmother and instills them with depth and complexity. Abigail Cabot, the daughter of a senator and sister of a reigning beauty, is made clumsy by a deformed foot that she desperately tries to hide, especially from the object of her hidden affections, Lt. Boyd Butler, the vice-president's son. When Jamie Calhoun, a newly elected congressman with a dark secret in his past, discovers Abigail's feelings, he sets out to further the romance and win the political support of her father and the vice-president by transforming her into a desirable high society swan. The mousy Abigail turns out to have unsuspected dimensions, including a sharp mind, a quick tongue and a steadfast devotion to astronomy. Readers won't be surprised to find that the real romance develops between Abby and Jamie; the fun is seeing them fight both each other and their feelings every step of the way. With its lively prose, well-developed conflict and passionate characters, this enjoyable, poignant tale is certain to enchant. (Oct.)Forecast: Wiggs has several bestsellers and two Romantic Times Career Achievement Awards under her belt, and this sterling effort will likely earn her another RITA Award. National radio and print advertising, strong word of mouth and an attractive, starry cover will help the novel appeal to a broader readership.
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