Paris is a geek with a history in Gaming that went terribly wrong and left her riddled with anxiety and hiding from the world. She turned her creative skills to writing intelligent bodice rippers under the pseudonym Anita Topaz, and has become a best-selling author. All is well until the new owners of the publishing house want Anita to appear in public to promote her latest book, and Paris is left between a rock and a hard place, wanting the sales but terrified of the limelight.
Enter stage left Fiona, or is it Diana, struggling actress who fate throws into Paris’ path. Diana has enough layers for the proverbial cake, and picking up the letter asking Anita to come to New York for a meeting gives her the idea for her next role. The ensuing tale is a mix of rom-com, romance and almost slapstick drama, leading both women into complex acts of misdirection and disguise.
Karin Kallmaker writes exceedingly good romances, and this one is a masterful mixture of a fun tale, delightful characters and her wicked sense of humour. It isn’t full of laugh out loud moments, but the more subtle wit that raises a smile at the play on words and the sarcastic banter. Add in Shakespearean character flaws along with the essential growth of our leading ladies and we have a classic.
The main characters are intriguing. Paris, broken and scared from a horrendous cyber-attack that literally threatened her life, is a classic soft butch gaming geek with a chronic anxiety disorder that makes her like a constant battle. Her learned and carefully constructed mechanisms of coping and deflecting make for an interesting read. As she tries to come out of her shell the clash with the extremely confident, outgoing Lady Diana Beckinsale is bound to cause sparks. Diane has her own issues, hiding from her life by combining her jet set lifestyle with part time acting and her more nefarious activities. As they say, opposites attract, compliment and sometimes combine to make more than the sum of the parts.
The romance is of the sex first fall in love later variety and Ms Kallmaker is an expert at the balance between fine drawn attraction, growing emotion and full on sex-appeal. The writing is excellent, tight and clean, and of course perfectly edited. The whole is a perfectly wrapped bundle of enjoyment for anyone who likes a good romance.
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(publisher review copy received)
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