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Mistress    by Leda Swann order for
by Leda Swann
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Avon, 2008 (2008)
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* *   Reviewed by Belle Dessler

Not long ago, Emily Clemens and her sisters faced a grim future in the workhouse. But that time is now behind them. Emily has a respectable job as a schoolteacher at a finishing school, yet she's still unhappy. She wants so much more out of life. Not knowing how else to get it, she decides that posing for revealing photographs will snag her a wealthy suitor. She's innocent, but not so innocent that she can't fathom becoming someone's mistress. She'll do what she has to do to change her life and provide for her sisters.

And to do all that, she has to shed her clothes for Eric Twyford, who, much to her surprise, proves not only handsome but rather charming, too. Only to her dismay, he seems quite unaffected by her sensuous efforts. How's she supposed to snag herself a wealthy suitor if she can't even make Eric sweat a little? So she decides to practice skills she's soon going to need. But will she be able to walk away when she accomplishes her mission?

Leda Swan has a remarkable grasp of the atmosphere that makes nineteenth century England such an intriguing time period. With deft writing and believable characters, she transports the reader into the past. The propriety of the time period contrasts beautifully with the sensuality of the plot line, creating a superb story that begs to be devoured in one sitting.

Although some readers may be frustrated by the misunderstandings that stand in the hero and heroine's way (a good heart-to-heart talk would solve most of this couple's problems early on), it's delightful to see them come together. The right blend of sensuality, drama and a touch of humor make Mistress an atmospheric, sexy read.

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