by Lois Carroll

ISBN: 1-55316-075-4
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Cynthia Kenward is the sole owner "The Formal Place" and a budding designer of wedding dresses. Her roommate, Anne, who rents a room in her shop/house and helps Cynthia around the shop, is about to get married. Anne’s fiancée’s brother however is strongly opposed to the match and will do anything, including proposing to Anne himself, to stop the marriage.

Mistaking Cynthia for Anne on their first meeting, Michael Bolten did just that – threaten to marry her himself in order to “save” his brother Neal from what he considers a very bad decision! The usually unflappable Cynthia, however, almost lost her cool upon meeting the big, bad and very attractive Michael. But with the bad weather just following Michael’s wake, Cynthia is about to lose more than her cool when Michael is snowbound alone with her for the next several days.

Cynthia is an old-fashioned spinster at thirty-five years old – complete with ankle length skirts and high laced shoes! Of course, the spinster façade comes with romantic notions – notions that she tries to explain to cynical and world weary (or rather love weary!) Michael. As she defends Neal and Anne’s decision to marry before they finish graduate school, Michael is skeptical that anyone like Cynthia, with her Victorian clothes and romantic ideas of love, exists in the modern era – especially at her age! But regardless of Cynthia’s age, lack of experience and acceptance that she may remain a spinster forever, she is steadfast in her convictions and belief in “true love”.

Michael, on the other hand, couldn’t believe that any woman isn’t out to snag a man for his wealth. Although born with a silver spoon, Michael has made his personal fortune larger as a venture capitalist – and from personal experience, he wrongly believes that Anne, without meeting her, is only after Neal’s trust fund.

The whole tone of the book is a bit on the quiet side, relying a lot on light touches, deep kisses and intimate revelations that keep the snowbound situation between Cynthia and Michael filled with sexual tension without unnecessary dialogue. Although Cynthia is a bit on the soft side as a heroine (she might have been a pushover if it weren’t for small flashes of temper), Michael more than makes up for it by being the commitment-phobic alpha male whose downfall brings satisfaction to women readers like me! The intimate scenes aren’t bad either! However, the secondary characters are almost non-characters – Neal and Anne were practically dispensable to Michael and Cynthia’s main romance.

It’s a novella – but short as it is, it’s still a satisfying read, especially for those snowbound winter nights!!

Reviewed in June 2002 by Veronica.

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