by Karen Fox

September 2003
ISBN: 0-8217-7455-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

A Touch of Charm has such an innocuous cover that I had little hope of reading anything other than a sugary sweet romance. Imagine my surprise when I realized that this little book is loaded with history, womenís rights, intrigue, and yes, romance, but definitely much spicier than you would think.

Charisma Sullivan is the middle of three sisters named for The Three Graces: Belle who has her own story in Belle of the Ball by Pam McCutcheon, Charisma, and Grace, whose story is told in Say Good Night, Gracie by Yvonne Jocks. None of them have the characteristics for which they were named, not until the Graces themselves step in to keep Belle from being homely, Charisma from being blunt, and Grace from being so clumsy.

But this is Charismaís story and she cannot wait to attend a political speech given by Will Barclay, a senatorial candidate who has come to town. Charisma is eager to find out what Willís position is on the womenís right to vote, and while Will is quite taken aback at Miss Charismaís pointed questions and outspoken manner, heís also mighty impressed that she is even interested in politics as most young women who come to hear him are only there to check out the looks of this desirable candidate.

Although truly interested in the politics she brings up, Charisma finds herself quite taken with Will and desires to curb her brash ways and become charming. One of the Three Graces, Thalia, is on a personal mission to help Charisma do just that and convinces Will that Charisma would be the perfect escort for him while he is in town. After all, if Charisma is always by his side, the other young women would keep their distance and he could keep his mind on the political climate. Even though Charisma embarrasses Will more than once in conversations with ideas that most women would keep to themselves, he soon finds that he also feels challenged by Charismaís inquiring mind and thoughtful ways.

Trust me--the romance between Charisma and Will gets quite steamy for the time and place (Colorado Springs in the 1880ís). Added to that is the bad blood between Will and his brother, Charismaís efforts to save young women from the brothels, the fight for womenís right to vote, and a delightful womenís group where Willís mother and her friends enlighten Charisma about many things. Surprisingly, this book has A Touch of Charm itself.

Reviewed in June 2004 by Vivian.

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