by Jacqueline Navin

June 2005
ISBN: 0-425-20356-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Berkley
Mass Market Paperback

Before his death, Lord Woolrich was a rake and a scoundrel, albeit an honorable one. Knowing that he had sired a number of illegitimate children in his amorous adventures, Wooly made every attempt to locate and provide for them. At his death, only a few remained unassisted. Lady May Hayworth, his sister, took on the quest to find the them. Thus began the trilogy known as The Mayfair Brides.

Author Jacqueline Navin has crafted a fitting ending to this entertaining and emotional series with her final book, The Beauty of Bond Street. Lady May was delighted when she was able to locate Sophie Kent and persuade her to come to live with her. Her beauty and grace will hold her in good stead as she makes her entree into society’s critical eye. She is not like the other two nieces, though. Sophie always seems a bit remote, as if she is holding something back.

Sophie is living a lie. When she lost her home following the death of her mother and aunt, Sophie discovered that a solicitor had written to Aunt Millicent about a child she had birthed many years ago. The child died in infancy, but the letter was Sophie’s salvation. She became the missing Woolrich daughter and found herself living in the lap of luxury. While her conscience chafes at the deceit, Sophie has to be practical. With Lady May’s help, she will be able to find a good man and marry. She will have a secure future.

When Lord Ashford, May’s nephew, is injured in a duel, he is brought to the Mayfair house to recuperate. A notorious rake with a penchant for married women, Gideon’s past has caught up with him. Burned from an overloaded pistol, he lies swathed in bandages, unsure if he will be disfigured. Sophie is caught peeking in on the patient, and they forge a friendship. Gideon knows that Sophie is beyond his reach, and he delights in the wicked teasing of her innocent sensibilities. He has plenty of time to spend soul-searching, and is not pleased with the result. Perhaps May is right. Perhaps it is time to put his profligate ways behind. He might even be worthy of Sophie.

The Beauty of Bond Street has many secrets and layers of story to discover. Ms. Navin’s skill in weaving them together will delight readers. Filled with wit and charm, the book also contains strong emotion and a few heart-wrenching scenes. Fans of historical romance should be sure to add this book to their TBR list.

Reviewed in May 2005 by Paula.

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