by Robyn DeHart

August 2005
ISBN: 0-06-078215-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Avon Books
Mass Market Paperback

Claudia Prattley has a big problem. She has a job! Not just any job, mind you, but a position as illustrator for London’s Illustrated Times. It started as a lark, and continued when Claudia relished the freedom that it gave her. While her identity as C.J. Prattley may conceal her gender, it is all going to come out now when she gives her resignation to the publisher.

Claudia doesn’t really want to give it up, but she must obey her father’s mandate to marry Richard Foxworth. He doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to get engaged though, and has never even stolen a kiss. Her father is adamant, however, and Claudia must obey. After all, she will never do any better than Richard, according to her overly critical father.

Derrick Middleton is having a rotten day when his clerk admits a petite young woman awash in ruffles and bows. He is shocked to discover that she is C.J. Prattley, his illustrator, and then dismayed to learn that she is going to resign her position. Miss Prattley’s illustrations are extremely popular and part of his recent success. Truth be told, he cannot afford to lose her. After she agrees to continue until her engagement is announced, Derrick tries to think of another way to keep his talented artist from resigning. If the engagement is never announced, then she will continue indefinitely, right?

Debut author Robyn DeHart has written a lively book in Courting Claudia. Its plot not only entertains, but examines the power most men wielded in their homes. Claudia truly had no voice in her future. It is only when she finds her inner strength that she can see herself in a true light. Derrick is very enlightened for the times, and offers Claudia some different perspectives and opinions about her place in the world.

Courting Claudia has a number of fine aspects. The relationship between Claudia and Derrick builds gradually and naturally. Her father’s baffling behavior and secrets keep the reader intrigued. Ms. DeHart also leaves us hoping for Poppy’s story in the near future. She will definitely be an author to watch!

Reviewed in September 2005 by Paula.

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