by Donna Birdsell

October 2005
ISBN: 0-425-20634-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Berkley
Mass Market Paperback

New Voice, Donna Birdsell brings us a tale of mystery, intrigue and love.

The Duke of Canby has been missing and presumed dead for six, long years. His family had almost given up hope of his ever returning, until a servant found his clothes in the woods. Now, they are looking for a murderer. Selena Hewitt had always been in love with Canby, but when he asked her to be his mistress and not his wife, she was heartbroken. She thought he loved her enough to overlook the dfference in their stations, she was the daughter of his Falconer, but to be his mistress was not good enough for Selena. Canby left the estate after her refusal, but not before leaving with her, his signet ring, that would later be the piece of evidence that would be her downfall. When his ring is found in her cottage, she is branded his murderer and taken off to prison. With no one to stand up for her innocence, Selena must accept her fate and pray for her soul.

John Markley, Seventeenth Duke of Canby is anything but dead. He is now known only as The Falcon, his code for England and one of his country's best and important spies. When word reaches him that his beloved Selena has been arrested for his murder, he knows that he must do something to save her, even if that means sheddiing his carefully cultivated undercover operation. But, he knows he just can't leave her to hang for a murder that she didn't commit.

Canby's sudden reemergence into society causes a stir, naturally since everyone believes him to be dead. When he finally convinces those in the government that he is alive and well, he saves Selena just seconds before she is to hang. Now, he must find out who is behind her arrest and the false charges that were brought up against her. What Canby doesn't know, it that there is someone else lurking in the background. Someone who wants him dead.

This is a fast paced, nail biting (at times) and wonderfully romantic read. Selena and Canby were meant to be together and when they finally get over the hurdle of their different social status, he being a Duke and she a Falconer's daughter, they realize what true love means.

Everything about this story is wonderful, from the characters to the plot to the scenery, you can't find anything to not like about this book. All of the characters are written to be believable. Ms. Birdsell writes with a passion that some of the other well established authors could take a lesson from.

Well done, Donna!

Reviewed in March 2006 by Debbie.

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