by Michele Jaffe

July 2001
ISBN: 0-671-02742-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Pocket Books
Mass Market Paperback

Lose yourself in a story full of intrigues, twists, colorful characters and vivid descriptions as Michele Jaffe revisits her notorious Foscari men in The Water Nymph.

Crispin Foscari is a ruthless charmer, regarded as a libertine, known as a seducer and admired for his prowess. He is all that but more. Once a spy for the Queen, he now finds himself labeled a traitor and on the hunt for the people responsible. And to make things more complicated for him, and more rewarding for us the readers, he encounters Sophie Champion, who in the guise of a Spanish gentleman is on a quest of her own looking for clues to her uncle's suspicious death. Haunted by a past filled with painful memories, childhood fears, hateful and angry voices, Sophie finds herself in Crispin's custody, while someone on London's streets is out to put the blame for several murders on her. She, who is more than suspicious already by being headstrong and independent in addition to living in an abandon convent with her two female friends and a devoted female-only household staff.

And even if Crispin doesn't know how Sophie is involved in the murders, he finds himself treasuring her budding trust in him. Still, suspicions and underworld connections keep them apart in a story about murder, betrayal, treason and hot passions

The Water Nymph is fast paced with an enthralling rhythm, which drew me into the story and then carried me through the end with the help of a good suspenseful plot and imaginative love scenes that had me blushing more than once.

I enjoyed Michele Jaffe's second book, especially for the characters' snappy and very often hilarious exchanges. Then there were the lush descriptions of romantic and sensual encounters in beautiful hidden gardens and the vivid imaginations that seduced me, letting the pure pleasure of a riveting story take over.

Still, The Water Nymph is missing the charming secondary characters I loved in The Stargazer and the authentic feel of the Renaissance era, which was so beautifully accomplished in Michele Jaffe's previous release. I also missed the other Foscari men, as only passing comments were made, and the loving interplay between them as seen in The Stargazer was definitely missed. Add to that was a scene meant to be romantic which instead made my skin crawl - I don't believe that swimming in the Thames is or was a healthy/hygienic conscious choice to make. A couple of other questions were raised by the book, which seemed impossible in the historical context and sadly distracted me from a very entertaining story. Maybe I'm too picky and even miss-informed. So don't miss this book on account of minor distractions, as I believe Michele Jaffe to be a very talented writer with a very entertaining and unique voice.

Reviewed in January 2002 by Kris Alice.

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