by Victoria Hinshaw

September 2002
ISBN: 0-8217-7404-2
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

Meg Hayward ekes out a living by stitching and hand-painting beautiful fans and other such small articles for people to buy. Though the daughter of a baron, she is forced to do this because of their reduced financial circumstances. But she is a young woman of strong and honest character. As a result, she is horrified when she finds that a stunning and accurate copy of an antique fan made by herself, has been passed off as the genuine article and sold, to an earl! Determined to put things right, she informs him of the fact and gives him the original fan, only to find herself accused by an indignant Earl of being a swindler! She feels insulted but agrees to paint the walls of the conservatory at Wakefield Hall, upon the request of the Dowager Countess. However, she finds herself thinking more and more about his lordshipís fine form and brooding sensuality and less and less about the work she has been hired to do!

Nicholas Wadsworth, the Earl of Wakefield, is highly resentful at having been swindled and takes out his ire on the beautiful young chit who comes to make amends. He believes her to be as guilty as the man who sold him that fake fan and nothing can persuade him to think otherwise. But then why canít he stop thinking about Megís beautiful and immensely kissable and luscious pink lips? Nicholas determines to ignore her but canít stop thinking of ways and excuses to be in her company! He just canít make up his mind as to whether she is an innocent young miss or a clever enchantress determined to snare him in her coils. Uncertainty dogs him as a battle rages between his heart and his head.

Who wins this battle and what has a very interesting nude statue of the Greek god, Apollo, got to do with it all? These are questions which can only be answered upon reading this beautifully spellbinding tale of love, mystery and unexpected passion! The Fountainbleau Fan takes the readers on a serpentine journey in which initial hostility gives way to humor, which in turn metamorphs into liking which ultimately turns into an all-forgiving love! The main characters are both strong-willed and seem to be complete opposites of each other, at least on the outside! But their hearts are in the right place and the attraction between them cannot be denied, not even by themselves! The secondary love story between her sister and his friend is also very touching. The Dowager Countess is a peerless matchmaker and enjoys herself playing Cupid and is a very entertaining character to read about! Misunderstandings and mischief abound in this charming and humorous tale that is likely to steal the readers hearts away! A true delight!

Reviewed in August 2002 by Rashmi.

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