From Publishers Weekly
Writing as Amanda Quick (Lie by Moonlight
, etc.), Jayne Ann Krentz offers another spirited Victorian romance, light on Victorian, heavy on romance. Photographer Venetia Milton supports her brother, sister and maiden aunt while keeping secrets: her late father's bigamy, her paranormal gift for seeing people's auras ("like looking at a negative image of the world") and her more-than-willing ravishment by client Gabriel Jones. Heir to a generations-old clandestine association of alchemists, scientists and dabblers in psychic phenomena, Gabriel has a few secrets of his own. After his servants report his death to authorities to confound his enemies, grieving Venetia begins posing as his widow, with Gabriel soon showing up on her doorstep very much alive. Miffed, she consigns him to the attic, but their chemistry quickly reignites; while tracking down one murderous, blackmailing thief after another, they steal opportunities for fervent encounters in the garden, in the carriage, in the society's mansion and at home. But the evildoers still want Gabriel's family secrets—and now they want Venetia as well. Women masquerade as men and criminals masquerade as aristocrats in a society so full of disguise that not even second sight provides much protection. But with Quick's stylish dialogue, compelling secondary characters and near-operatic denouement, fans won't need or want it. (May 9)
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Photographer Venetia Milton is a spinster by Victorian standards. Economically strapped, she's also the sole support of her aunt and younger siblings. Things start to look up when she is chosen to photograph a collection of artifacts belonging to the Arcane Society, a 200-year-old clandestine organization founded by an alchemist. The collection is housed in an isolated gothic mansion, and Venetia finds herself there in the company of handsome and mysterious Gabriel Jones. Deciding that it's now or never for love, Venetia seduces him, only to lose the man of her dreams in a fire set by a nefarious enemy. Venetia resourcefully moves on, opening a portrait shop and assuming the persona of Gabriel's grieving widow. The talented Mrs. Jones becomes the toast of London, a surprising turnaround, but not nearly as astonishing as Gabriel's reappearance, and the danger she finds herself in. Quick's latest is a clever and entertaining tale about secrets, from a secret society to secret powers to a secret theft. Quick also slips in serious observations about the status of women, debunking the all-too-common assumption that feminism isn't alive and well in the romance genre. With her witty dialogue, multidimensional characters complete with eccentricities and psychic abilities, clever plotting, and generous humor, the perennially popular Quick has penned another surefire winner. Shelley MosleyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved