- € 6,49
After a year of grand adventures touring the classical ruins of Italy and Greece, Iphiginia Bright returned to England to discover that the real excitement was at home. It seems that her Aunt Zoe has fallen victim to a sinister blackmailer and only Iphiginia can hope to stop the culprit before he can do more harm. Her plan is inspired: Imitating history's most legendary beauties--Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, Aphrodite--the former schoolmistress will remake herself, and descend upon London Society as the dazzling mistress of Marcus Valerius Cloud, the infamous Earl of Masters. Rumors hint that the Earl has disappeared at the blackmailer's hands, and by posing as his unknown mistress, Iphiginia is convinced she can ferret out the villain. Overnight, Iphiginia is transformed into a vision with a host of eager admirers, including one she does not expect -- the Earl of Masters himself, who strides into a shimmering ballroom one evening to cooly reclaim his "mistress". He is everything they say he is... arrogant, attractive, devastatingly seductive, and Iphiginia can't help but be enthralled. But when Marcus agrees to play along with her charade, she doesn't know that the determined earl has plans of his own: to tease and tempt her, until the beautiful deceiver becomes more than his mistress in name only.
A sturdy backbone of suspense is the only prop that keeps this latest,uneven historical romance by the author of Deceptions from collapsing. London society in the early part of the 19th century, ruled by rigid patterns of proper behavior, is quick to ostracize those who defy its conventions. So when Iphiginia Bright discovers that her dear old Aunt Zoe is hiding an extremely embarrassing secret--and is being blackmailed for it--the young woman schemes to keep her aunt's reputation intact and to ferret out the perpetrator as well. In order to penetrate the highest levels of society, where the blackmailer operates, Iphiginia poses as the mistress of Marcus Cloud, Earl of Masters. To her chagrin, the earl catches her in the act; but when he learns that a close friend of his is also being blackmailed, the enterprising and unconventional lord joins forces with his strong-minded ``mistress,'' leading to some convoluted sleuthing and complex role-playing interspersed with passionate confrontations. Quick (aka bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz) deftly spins a first-rate mystery that includes a perplexing murder, but her usual light comedic touch disintegrates into burlesque and farce here, with pointless subplots that veer out of control, spawning pages of vapid conversation. Even Quick's two admirable and enchanting protagonists can't salvage this slow and lackluster romance.