by Linda Francis Lee

June 2001
ISBN: 0-449-00207-1
Reviewer Graphic Button Ballantine Books
Mass Market Paperback

Lucas Hawthorne, owner of a gentlemanís club, stands accused of the murder of Lucille Rouge, a well-known courtesan. Lucas cares nothing for public opinion and flaunts his ill repute in the faces of those hypocritical pillars of society who condemn him during the day while furtively visiting his club at night. Because his case is so desperate, no one comes forward to take it, even though Lucas is the youngest son of the prominent Boston citizen, Bradford Hawthorne. Upon the advise of his elder brother, he approaches novice lawyer, Alice Kendall, whose biggest qualification, in his eyes, is the fact that she is the daughter of Walker Kendall, Boston's public prosecutor and the very man who has sworn to destroy Luke!

Alice Kendall is a young, bright and clever lawyer, who is well known for her brilliant strategies. She is also very much in awe of her famous father. Alice has read about Lucasís case in the newspapers but she is completely unprepared for having him as a client. Prim and sheltered, Alice doesn't know how to handle this brooding man with his handsome good looks, deep sensuality and unholy reputation. Not to mention how very deeply attracted she is to him! Alice knows that not taking the case is in her own best interests but her fatherís patronizing comments about her abilities to handle such a high-profile and hopeless case, enrages her and she accepts Lucas's case, where she will be on opposing sides from her father!

Alice and Lucas are complete opposites. He is a creature of the dark, mysterious and enigmatic, with a reputation as bad as sin. She is a creature of light, innocent and brave, out to save the deserving and does so against all opposition. But it is this very factor that attracts them to each other. The deep attraction is there in every word and every sentence; even the most prosaic conversation is seeped in layers of sexual innuendos. And to top it all, there are the murders that just donít seem to stop! The danger and the passion, the good and the evil, all together draws the reader into this book where a world exists where no one is as they seem and danger abounds!

Linda Francis Lee has cleverly crafted a throbbing romance cum mystery novel, which is mesmerizing and hot in its intensity. Nightingaleís Gate is the final novel in a trilogy, which also consists of Dove's Way and Swan's Grace, but it is not dependent upon the previous books for its story. The three books in the trilogy are about lives and loves of three brothers. But there is a twist in Nightingale's Gate which is that it is set in the late 1800s when lady lawyers were few and far in between and just associating with a man of Lukeís reputation is enough to destroy Aliceís position in society! Deeply fascinating!

Reviewed in July 2002 by Rashmi.

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