by Tanya Anne Crosby

November 1999
ISBN: 0-380-75874-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Tanya Anne Crosby's Happily Ever After is a charming tale set in the late Victorian period; a tale of cannonball-destroyed summer dresses, burned meals, love, laughter and too many bruises.

Sophie Vanderwahl (of old Boston money) receives a letter detailing her fiancÚ's betrayal. Not willing to wait for her knight in shining armour, she breaks out of her gilded cage with revenge on her mind. Sophie, a rebellious soul with a strong spirit and a temper to match, needs help in tracking down her fiancÚ; help from someone like Jack MacAuley.

An adventurer with passion, a believer in his own rules, a fighter of the system with no respect for old traditions or rules set in stone, Jack finds himself trapped by a fair amount of money and the most kissable lips. On their journey together on board an ancient ship where the crew is more than willing to fall under Sophie's spell, Jack has to come to terms with this unusual woman's curious mind, her hunger for knowledge and her passion for life and its wonders. Even though he's suspicious of her motives in wanting to be on his ship, Jack is irresistibly drawn to her.

I'm a sucker for a great first kiss. It means so much, it is a promise of things to come and it shapes the growing attraction between the hero and the heroine. In Tanya Anne Crosby's Happily Ever After, the first kiss comes from the lips of the heroine, brazen and brave. Wow! Good for her! I love reading about a woman willing to go after what she wants and whom she wants it from.

This book is Sophie's story and hers alone, which is not a bad thing because she's worth it. I was more than happy to identify with her, a heroine who is strong and independent, a heroine who is willing to trust her heart and follow her dreams.

The one thing I didn't like about the book was the portrayal of Mexican women. All that there is to them seems to be their willingness to pleasure just any man. I found it very degrading and hope that Tanya Anne Crosby will find a more accurate and respectful way of describing non - North American cultures in the future.

Still, it is a good read and it would be a shame to miss out on it.

Reviewed in September 2001 by Kris Alice.

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