by Kathryn Smith

June 2004
ISBN: 0-06-052742-0
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

As the illegitimate son of Viscount Creed, North Sheffield-Ryland has straddled both sides of polite society. Acknowledged by his father and held in some regard by his half-brothers, he interacts with the ton when it suits his purposes, usually when he is working on one of his investigations. Itís not that he dislikes the upper class, itís just that he is a practical man, and learned long ago that some things are out of his reach.

The daughter of a well-known actress, Octavia Vaux-Daventry planned to follow in her motherís footsteps. When her mother died, fate intervened in the form of her grandfather, Lord Spinton, and Octavia was spirited away to take her place in society. She never forgot her childhood friends, most especially the young man who had captured her heart, Norrie Sheffield.

Fate is intervening once again as these star-crossed lovers meet in the ballrooms and salons of London. Someone is sending Octavia strange letters, with a hint of malice, and her fiancť wants to be assured of her safety. Of course he contacts the tonís own private investigator, North Sheffield.

In Your Arms Again may start out as a typical boy-loves-girl, boy-loses-girl plotline, but it quickly turns into much more. Author Kathryn Smith infuses the novel with a depth of emotion and a twist of suspense that will keep the readers enthralled. Octavia is a splendid heroine, torn between her duty and her heart. This internal struggle is very much in keeping with the time, as many young women were forced to make similar choices between familial expectations and personal desires. With strong characters, this alone would be good reading, but Ms. Smith has added a touch of danger to the mix. Both North and Octavia are targeted, for different reasons, and the suspense is seamlessly blended through the book.

Since this is the second book to feature Ryland men, I am hoping that Ms. Smith will continue a bit longer with this intriguing family. By my recollection, there are at least two more brothers to go!

Reviewed in May 2004 by Paula.

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