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To Catch an Heiress Mass Market Paperback – July 30, 2002
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Caroline Trent is fed up with her greedy guardian, Oliver Prewitt, and his nitwit son, Percy. With only six weeks to go until she can claim her inheritance and rid herself of them, Percy attempts to forcibly seduce her. Fortunately, Caroline has a pistol at hand and she uses it--wounding the annoying man just enough to allow her to escape. Fuming, she flees the dark manor house determined to find employment and hide from her guardian for six weeks. But a bad night turns worse when a tall, dark stranger accosts her. Blake Ravenscroft thinks Caroline is a female spy, part of Oliver Prewitt's smuggling activities that include spying for Napoleon. He kidnaps Caroline, ties her to a bed at his nearby home, and grills her unsuccessfully before a friend arrives and tells Blake that he's captured the wrong woman. Caroline explains her predicament and, given what he knows of the larcenous Oliver Prewitt, Blake has no option but to offer her shelter. Caroline isn't a woman accustomed to sitting in the parlor sipping tea, especially while Blake's investigation has him involved in far more exciting, life-threatening activities. Blake isn't a man accustomed to having a woman ignore his commands. Sparks fly and passion sizzles between these two characters while a cast of endearing characters provide well-meaning assistance. To Catch an Heiress is both warm and wonderful, with witty dialogue and endearing characters. --Lois Faye Dyer
About the Author
Julia Quinn started writing her first book one month after finishing college and has been tapping away at her keyboard ever since. The #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than two dozen novels for Avon Books, she is a graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges and is one of only sixteen authors ever to be inducted in the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. Please visit her on the web at www.juliaquinn.com.
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In the end, though, the spy hero is kind of the weak link in the book, at least for me. I liked him at first, when he found himself laughing with the heroine despite thinking she's an enemy spy, but when that misconception's cleared up, he seems to lose a lot of his sense of humor, and he's always growling at the heroine because MY FIANCEE DIED, NOW I MUST SMOTHER YOU IN MY PROTECTIVE INSTINCTS. That is, when he's not just plain angsting about Dead Fiancee and how he Must Never Love a Woman Again. This doesn't seem to have annoyed some readers, judging from the reviews, but to me, he was such a prickly drag by the end of the book that I couldn't see why the heroine thought he was so great- I'd have been ready to elope with the Marquis.
Also, Dead Fiancee's name is Marabelle, This didn't strike me as a particularly realistic name for the period, so whenever she'd get mentioned, I'd roll my eyes. My eyes got a lot of exercise by the time the epilogue rolled around.
I loved pretty much everything else- the side characters are fun and don't feel flat, I loved Caroline's dictionary/diary and quick wit, etc., so I'd still rank this book pretty highly and recommend it to anyone who doesn't mind angsty love interests. Personally, though, I'm looking forward to passing this one on.
Please don't use this book as an into to Julia Quinn's works. She does much much better elsewhere.