by Barbara Dawson Smith

February 2006
ISBN: 0-312-93239-1
Reviewer Graphic Button St. Martin`s Press
Mass Market Paperback

Someone was stealing jewels from the homes of the social elite and leaving quotes from Shakespeare’s plays in their wake. Who would be the most likely culprit? Why, a Shakespearean scholar, of course!

The law had failed Claire Hollybrooke by putting an innocent man in prison: her father. Forced to take matters into her own hands, Claire set out to clear her father’s name and to procure his freedom. Her starting point was her maternal grandfather. If anyone had a vendetta against her father it would be Lord Warrington. He had disowned his daughter, Claire’s mother, after she’d married below her station. Claire had witnessed for herself the devastating effect it had on her mother.

Since Warrington had refused to have any involvement with his granddaughter he wouldn’t guess her true identity were she to join his staff incognito. Claire became Clara Brownley, paid companion to her cousin. Soon she would have the evidence needed to save her father from the gallows. Plenty of obstacles stood in her path, however, namely one Earl of Rockford...and the outrageous wager.

Simon Croft, Earl of Rockford, led a double life. To the public eye he was of noble lineage, a prime candidate to marriage-minded mamas. What very few people knew was that Simon was also a detective who worked closely beside the Bow Street Runners. Having lost his father to a violent crime, Simon had pledged his life to bringing justice to victims. It was he who had apprehended Gilbert Hollybrooke. He felt certain that Hollybrooke was the Wraith, especially after finding concrete evidence to support that belief.

Countess Confidential is a sensuous treat. Barbara Dawson Smith has provided a well-written, cleverly plotted, gem of a story. The chemistry between Claire and Simon fairly sizzles from their first meeting to the last page. The suspense is perfectly paced, both in finding the identity of the Wraith and in the attraction between the hero and heroine. Will they or won’t they? Fans of Barbara Dawson Smith who have come to expect quality romance will not be disappointed in Countess Confidential.

Reviewed in April 2006 by Rho.

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