|Amelia Grey: A Little Mischief|
Berkley (Paperback), ISBN 0-425-19277-6
Isabella Winslowe already knows her future. Lacking any desire to marry, she bides her time until she turns 21 and officially can be declared a spinster. She craves the freedom her spinster aunt possesses and wants it for herself.
At the same time, Isabella wants to help other young girls become more poised in Society. So she starts a Reading Society (cruelly dubbed the Wallflower Society by others) in her home to instruct young women how to appear more attractive to men.
Daniel, the earl of Colebrook, returns to London after a year away with two purposes in mind -- find a husband for his sister Gretchen, and a wife for himself. Gretchen, however, gets herself in trouble almost immediately upon his arrival -- Isabella finds Gretchen in the garden standing over an unconscious Mr. Boswell Throckmorten and holding a marble statue. Convinced of his death, Isabella immediately hatches a plan to protect herself and Gretchen, escorting the woman home. Daniel refuses to believe her story, especially when he accompanies Isabelle home, and they find Throckmorten's body gone.
A similar event replays itself that night in the garden of another party. Only this time, Throckmorten appears to be truly dead -- with a letter opener sticking out of his chest. But again, the body vanishes, only to surface floating in the Thames the next day. Determined to protect Gretchen's reputation so she can make a good match, Daniel tries to find out just who did in Throckmorten. Isabella, excited at the intrigue, refuses to let him push her aside. As the two investigate the crime, an unwanted but undeniable passion roars to life in both. But they decide they would never suit and futilely determine to stay apart.
Despite this book's interesting premise and a decent plot, it never realizes its potential. The dialogue, especially in more intimate moments, reads like Internet porn written by a 12-year-old. Amelia Grey gives no explanation for the sparks between the leads; it just suddenly materializes. A very disappointing read that just couldn't hold the reader's attention.
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