by Debbie Raleigh

January 2002
ISBN: 0-8217-7170-1
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

The Valentine Wish was an enjoyable and fast read from the first encounter of the hero and heroine down to the last page of the book. Ms. Raleigh was able to paint a picture of the story as if I was right there along side of the hero and heroine.

The first encounter between Cedric, Lord of Hartshore and Emma Creswell was a hilarious one if I do say so myself. I can actually picture myself doing this too. Walking in the woods, not knowing where I am going but following the smoke from a chimney to find shelter because the crazy carriage driver decided to drink and turned the carriage on its side! For Emma, it is either walk or freeze, so walking was really the only option, only to get one foot stuck in a quagmire! When Emma tries to pull it out without success, along comes a gentleman, calling Emma a wood nymph and helps her out. Only when Cedric tries to pulls Emma out, they both fall and Emma lands on top of him. Cedric, never one to let an opportunity pass him by, steals a kiss from Emma, who has just realized that she is lying on top of a man! It turns out that Emma suffers a sprain ankle and Cedric carries her away to his home. This is just one of many amusing situations that presents itself throughout the story, though not all of them involving Emma and Cedric.

Emma Creswell has a sharp wit and an equally sharp tongue when she wishes to use it, which is not very often. She is also trying to hide from her past, namely her father, who is the infamous jewel thief, Devilish Dandy, so she took a job away from London as a lady’s companion. She also has a very compassionate nature that she is trying to hide; she does not want to get attached to anyone and she doesn’t want anyone to know who her father is. She tries to keep Cedric out of her heart and mind, but does not quite succeed into doing that.

Cedric, Lord of Hartshore, is a very caring, compassionate and quite dashing gentleman. He cares for the people around him and does not like going into London to deal with the ton. He is content to stay out of London and visit with his aunt and uncle.

The secondary characters are eccentric especially Cedric’s aunt, uncle and their cook. The priest is a very selfish man, who does more for himself than his flock. Unfortunately for Emma, another eccentric character, her father, Devilish Dandy, eventually makes an appearance, making her very nervous. Emma runs at the first sign of trouble – her father’s reputation has sullied his daughters as well, though Emma and her sisters are nothing like others think they are. Each of the characters give their own flavor to the story and make it blend perfectly.

Ms. Raleigh is able to make each of these vibrant characters add life to the story to make a very entertaining read. If you want an easy afternoon getaway, this book is for you!

Reviewed in March 2002 by Pam.

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