From Publishers Weekly
A deft mix of history, romance and suspense, this meaty offering from Drake (aka Heather Graham) explores Victorian London's seedy East End, where pickpockets run rampant, "mesmerists" fleece grieving widows and Jack the Ripper prowls for prostitutes. Lady Maggie Graham swore she would never wed again after her husband was killed just two years into their marriage, but when her brother Justin gambles away the family fortune, she finds herself in a predicament. Should she marry the elderly Viscount Langdon, who's infatuated with her, or let Justin find some doddering old woman with deep pockets, even though such a marriage would mean the family title would pass over to their loathsome Uncle Angus? Maggie chooses Langdon once she learns that he will support her efforts to aid the impoverished. All would seem settled were it not for Langdon's dashing nephew James, who's both attracted to and suspicious of Maggie, and Charles's temperamental daughter Arianna, who ends up setting Maggie in a murderer's path. Maggie can be melodramatic and surprisingly self-centered at times, but charismatic supporting characters like her friend Mireau keep her grounded. Although Drake (The Lion in Glory, etc.) only skims the surface of her protagonists' psyches, she manipulates readers masterfully with exciting plot developments and heady love scenes.
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The widowed Lady Maggie Graham agrees to marry Viscount Charles Langdon, an older widower. His nephew, Jamie, thinks Maggie is a gold digger with dangerous and potentially scandalous pursuits on the side, especially her tendency to go in disguise to London's East End to uncover charlatan mediums and mesmerists. Even he is smitten, though, by Maggie's beauty and personality, and the attraction is mutual. Charles' daughter, Adrianna, however, loathes her stepmother, a loathing that turns to outright hatred when Charles dies of heart failure on his wedding night attempting to consummate their union. When Adrianna learns about Maggie's work in the East End, she seeks a mesmerist to lure her there to her death, only to become a virtual prisoner herself to his greed and scams. Set at the time of Jack the Ripper's rampage, Drake's extremely complicated tale often reads more like a Victorian mystery than a romance, although it is the growing love (and great, if reluctant sex) between Jamie and Maggie that keeps the reader hooked. Mary K. CheltonCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved