by Karen Hawkins

April 2000
ISBN: 0-380-81071-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

In the rare event that there may be a reader out there who has never numbered a historical romance among her book collection, I beg of you - start with this one! If you went to the dictionary and looked up the definition of "historical romance" you'd see a picture of this book right there! The story of The Abduction of Julia is undoubtedly one of the most perfect novels it's been my pleasure to review.

All the proper elements are in their proper places in this romance. We are presented with the handsome and dissolute Alec, Lord Hunterston, who is about to lose a fortune unless he weds before midnight! His intended, the wicked seductress Therese Frant, wants more than money - she wants a title and has conspired with Alec's reprobate cousin Nick, Earl of Bridgerton. The two intend to deprive Alec of his inheritance, which would then revert to Nick, who would then wed Therese, and so on! Neither made allowances for the inadvertent interference of Therese's companion, Julia Frant! Known as the "Frant Dragon", twenty-seven year old Julia has been relegated to the chaperone's corner of life, and it's not until she ends up in Alec's carriage on the fateful night that Alec realizes the importance of this practical little green-eyed American import!

Julia, (with the assistance of some strong rum punch), offers the perfect solution - she meets all the criteria to be Alec's wife! Thus their married life begins with Alec a bit befuddled at his new reformer wife, who challenges the world from behind her spectacles and loves to help others. Julia, on the other hand, is fighting her emotions when it comes to Alec - after all, what chance could a dowdy Colonial have of attracting the notice of a devastatingly attractive man like him?

Both Alec and Julia are splendid characters - as soon as we meet them we understand who they are; it is effortless to slip into their minds and feel their emotions. As devious schemes revolve around them and Julia's status changes, we find ourselves longing for the sexual tension that is rapidly developing between this couple to be resolved - and soon!!!

The eccentric dowager makes her appearance right on schedule (even including her dog), as does the wry but helpful friend of Alec's; the whimsical staff of Alec's townhouse are perfectly-drawn miniatures of what we imagine they should be. The really rotten Earl turns out to be maybe not as bad as first implied, and who proved to be his redemption? You guessed - the same woman who reduced Alec to a stuttering schoolboy with a severe case of lust!! (Nick gets his own story in The Seduction of Sara, reviewed elsewhere.) Yes, Julia's abduction turns out to be the best thing that could have happened to a large number of people, and Karen Hawkins has blessed her readers by taking them along for the ride. Do not pass this romance by - it's a joy!

Reviewed in January 2002 by Celia.

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