by Thea Devine

July 1990
ISBN: 0-821-73068-1
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

Julianne Montgomery is a poor orphan of the elite New York Montgomery family. She has lived vicariously through her cousin Rosalind's letters for years. Rosalind has everything Julianne has never had - wealth, beautiful gowns, loving parents, and most of all, a seemingly adoring fiancÚ. When Rosalind invites Julianne to her wedding, Julianne jumps at the chance to see what could have all been hers if not for a cruel stroke of luck. Once there, Julianne feels like an outsider at her aunt and uncle's massive home and her cousin's fiancÚ, Sam, is the only one she feels that she can relate to. But it is dangerous for her to get too close to Sam since Julianne is half in love with Sam already from Rosalind's letters.

When Rosalind leaves Sam standing at the altar, Julianne doesn't hesitate to take what she has always desired - her cousin's place. Unfortunately, she didn't know Sam was only proposing a business deal - not marriage. When Julianne's uncle swears to kill her and Sam for ending the engagement with Rosalind, Sam has no choice but to take Julianne with him back to Montana where they have to maintain the charade of a married couple. Julianne knows that this will be her only chance to live the life of her dreams so she sets out to seduce Sam in hopes that he will make her his wife in reality. But however much Sam may desire Julianne, he doesn't know if he can trust her. He may give her passion, but will he give her love?

Everything in Montana Mistress is intense - the characters, the plot, the dialog and especially the sex. Thea Devine has a style of writing that forces you to look beyond the surface and into the depth of the character's emotions. Devine takes it for granted that the reader has a degree of intelligence and can deduce some things on their own without needing to have the significance of every detail spelled out for them. That makes a refreshing change of pace, however, it doesn't make the book a "light" read and you have to read between the lines many times to get the full meaning of the story.

One thing I didn't like about Montana Mistress was that the romance aspect of the story seemed to take a back seat to the intrigue and eroticism. If I wasn't supposed to be reading a romance novel, this wouldn't have bothered me but when you're reading a romance, you expect more than a declaration of love in the last few pages for it to be labeled thus.

Montana Mistress is very hard to find since it is out of print and you can pay a fortune for a used copy, if you can find one. If you are a big Thea Devine fan, I would say that it is worth the effort to find a copy. If you've never read a novel by Thea Devine, this is one of her better works and I would recommend it.

Reviewed in August 2001 by Nicole.

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