The Mistress Paperback – Large Print, Aug 10 2011
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Setting: Chicago, 1871
Beautiful Kathleen O'Leary works as a maid at an exclusive girls school where she has been befriended by three rich students. One evening, the high-spirited girls convince Kathleen to dress in borrowed diamonds and silk and accompany them to a masquerade at the Hotel Royale in Chicago. Here, Kathleen catches the eye of the city's most eligible bachelor, Dylan Francis Kennedy, and the two are instantly attracted to each other. Fate intervenes when the two are caught in the midst of the great Chicago Fire of 1871 and, convinced they're about to die, they impulsively marry. Amazingly they survive, and Kathleen is faced with the difficult task of confessing her real identity to her new husband. To her shock, she learns that Dylan is also a fraud. Far from being a rich gentleman, he's a con artist, intent on marrying an heiress and taking her money.
How will the Irish maid and the gambler deal with being tied together in a marriage that began with deception? They've escaped death in the Great Chicago Fire, but can they survive the bonds of matrimony and the very real threat to their hearts? Especially when Kathleen is determined to reform him and Dylan is just as determined to separate marks from their money in this tale of dangerous games and wild adventure.
In this second installment of the trilogy that began with The Hostage, Susan Wiggs creates a classic love story of a flawed hero who learns the meaning of love through trial, travail, and the passionate heart of a good woman. The story expertly meshes the high drama of a city ablaze and the lively action of a great con game, adds an equal slice of 1870's historical ambiance, and tops it all with expertly drawn characters. Wiggs just keeps getting better and better. --Lois Faye Dyer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Susan Wiggs is the author of many beloved bestsellers, including the popular Lakeshore Chronicles series. She has won many awards for her work, including a RITA from Romance Writers of America. Visit her website at www.SusanWiggs.com.--This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition. See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
On the other side of town, an inferno has erupted starting at the barn of Kathleen's parents. As the fire spreads and threatens everyone in the city, Kathleen and Dylan hastily marry. Somehow they survive and quickly fall in love, but both, not expecting to live, entered the marriage with deception and duplicity. He trusts no one and needs instant cash that she cannot provide while she continues to shower him with love.
THE MISTRESS is an enjoyable Americana romance that centers on the aftermath of the Chicago fire. The story line uses real events and people to propel the entertaining romance to its climax. The lead couple will receive reader empathy as they learn the importance of being truthful as well as earnest in a relationship. However, what makes Susan Wiggs' tale a cut above the norm is the intricate look at survivors whose prize for minor success is clinging to life one day at a time.
The romance was almost secondary. I loved the character of Kathleen. Part-Cinderella and part-My Fair Lady, she was a maid who attended a society event and passed herself off as a Lady. She was feisty, brave and proud. Someone to admire for more than her outward beauty. Dylan was a bit harder to like - too rough around the edges and too set on an unscrupulous lifestyle, determined not to change. But in his heroism, he showed caring and a softer-side. Lots of sexy scenes. Maybe too many. Unfortunately, the story seemed to drag a bit during these scenes, and they could have been condensed to make the it flow better through the more important historical events.
The lesson Katie taught Dylan, that the riches of love and family is worth more than money, is something those of us who are products of a material society need to reflect more upon.
It's a story about how you can find your identity, your peace, in the one you love, and how unlikely that love can sometimes be; it's not unlike The Charm School, another book by Wiggs, that paired together a hero and a heroine that, under normal circumstances, wouldn't even have looked at each other on the street. Well-written and heartwarming, set against the famous fire in Chicago and the stunning effects it had on people's (real and fiction) lives, The Mistress is a lovely, polished gem to spend your day with.
This is my first Susan Wiggs novel; but it won't be my last! I was captivated by the unusual storyline, however not being a avid romance reader, felt it bogged down a little in the middle.
I wanted them to quit making love and get on with the action! The action being; how two penniless people are going to overcome the tragedy of the century, stay together long enough to find their trust and become prosperous!