by Jessica Bird

March 2004
ISBN: 0345458958
Reviewer Graphic Button Ivy Books
Mass Market Paperback

A serial killer is going after the women that make out the cream of New Yorkís high society. One after one they are being killed in their own homes. Enter personal security specialist John Smith. Hired to protect one of the potential targets, Grace Woodward Hall, heiress and still Countess von Sharone. He moves in and takes charge of her life, only to find his own shifting irrevocably.

I found An Unforgettable Lady not an easy story to read. If it is supposed to be a romantic suspense then it definitely fails at that, as it is too easy to spot the killer. For a straight romance it works though, as the characters have some serious emotional issues to wade through before they can find happiness. Even though the story lacks warmth, itís definitely very intense. So letís take a closer look, shall we.

It took some getting used to, to have this dark, hard and domineering alpha male in a contemporary setting. Armor, a horse and castle seem so much more fitting. John Smith is committed to his job, he is a warrior. And his damsel in distress is Grace. But whereas it can be fascinating and fairy-tale-like to read about the wealthy and titled in historical romances, in a contemporary it very often proves to be very cold and inaccessible.

It took me all of the first 100 pages to get to know and like Grace and her bodyguard. First their worlds, their occupations and their acquaintances kept me at bay. Then there also was Graceís controlled and serious demeanor and John Smithís cavemen antics. Feeling distanced and emotionally uninvolved, I didnít feel motivated to identify with them.

They did work their way past all those barriers, however. With their honest emotions, insecurities and their worlds falling apart, it was impossible not to feel touched by their struggles and desires and from there on, it was only a small step to my heart. Attuned to their pains and dreams, I very often felt consumed by their hot passion. Very hot passion!

Grace and John Smith might not be my favorites of Jessica Birdís characters, but in the second half I did care for them, which was enough for me to turn the pages and to return for more. By the way, one of the characters introduced as Graceís childhood friend, Jackson Walker, stole the show whenever he entered a scene. And his and Callie Burkeís story is an eagerly anticipated reading pleasure. So, to begin with a story too slow paced and cold An Unforgettable Lady turned then into an intriguing and exhilarating ride for all my senses.

Reviewed in February 2004 by Kris Alice.

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