by Brenda Joyce

October 2004
ISBN: 0-7783-2089-8
Reviewer Graphic Button Mira Books
Mass Market Paperback

Ever have a hankering for a book that you can really sink your teeth into? A story that keeps you so enthralled that you just canít put it down? Then Brenda Joyceís story, The Prize is for you. Its 580-some pages of non-stop adventure, scandal, revenge and romance.

When Devin OíNeill was ten years old, he witnessed his fatherís murder. From that day forward, he promised himself that he would avenge his fatherís death and ruin the man who murdered him in cold blood. Having nearly ruined the Earl of Eastleigh financially and socially, he is just waiting for a chance to strike the final blow that will bring Eastleigh down, and that opportunity finally comes in the form of Virginia Hughes, Eastleighís American niece.

Newly orphaned and alone, Virginia Hughes is furious to learn that her newly appointed guardian; her uncle the Earl of Eastleigh, has put her beloved home and plantation, Sweet Briar, up for sale. Virginia is determined to sail to England and convince him to let her buy Sweet Briar and restore it to its former glory. Unfortunately for Virginia, Devin has other ideas. He captures Virginiaís ship and takes her hostage to ransom to her uncle; who will surly pay the money or suffer from the scandal that it will cause.

What follows is a battle of wills. Virginia is a very strong-willed American with values and ideas of her own. She can shoot like any man and has the determination of a bull. When she and Devin butt heads, sparks fly. He demands that she be a good, little hostage and quietly allow him to ransom her. She, on the other hand, fights him all of the way. During all of this fighting and carrying on, the passion ignites and let me tell you, it fairly sets the pages on fire!!

Brenda Joyce always delivers. You can never go wrong with her name on the cover. Her characters are fabulous. Every aspect of their personality is superbly written. Virginia is anxious to return to her plantation and Devin is just as anxious to keep her in England. There are many secondary characters who without them, the story would be sadly lacking. There are also several secondary characters who could very well have their own story, which I hope will come to pass. Having the story take place during the War of 1812 is a nice touch as it adds so much to the plot. Itís nice to watch an alpha-male like Devin come to his knees for a woman, and Virginia is just the woman for the job!

This is surely going to be one of my tops picks for your fall reading.

Reviewed in September 2004 by Debbie.

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