Victoria Kensington is jogging in Central Park one morning, when her sister, the sister who's supposed to be in Italy, collapses at her feet, wearing a yellow hospital gown, stammering a phone number, and warning her of danger. When Victoria returns to the site after summoning help (no one carried cell phones everywhere in the nineties), there is no trace of her sister anywhere.
Stubbornly determined to find Audrey, despite the obstacles in her path, one of them being her father, adamantly claiming her sisters is still in Italy, Victoria starts digging...But little does she know her investigation will put her life, and that of her sister, in peril, and put her back in the orbit of the only man she's ever loved.
I read a few of Ms Kane's historicals, and I was curious as to see how she manages in the romantic suspense department. She does a pretty good job. So good, in fact, I decided to re-read some of her RS I read a few years back, and dig into the others I haven't.
This book wasn't one of those in-your-face romantic suspenses you can find everywhere these days. It was very understated, both in the romance and suspense elements. Subtle, yet precise and very, very effective.
At first glance, it could appear wordy, every conversation seemed prolonged, the descriptions lentghy, and yes, wordy. I guess this is Ms Kane's narrative style, and while, in the hands of another author, the wordy-ness would kill the plot and the pacing, with this particular author, her style, and her voice, it worked perfectly, enhancing the subtleness of it all.
Unfortunately, I cannot think of another word by subtle to describe this book. Everything was so utterly elegant, everything seemed to move in a slow motion, the pacing being much slower than one would expect from a suspense book. But despite the leisurely pace, nothing seemed dull or boring. Quite the opposite, in fact.
The characters were nicely fleshed-out, the plot well-developed, the pacing spot-on throughout the entire book (slowly picking up pace the closer we got to the big finale). The romance was believable and hot with the two leads actually communicating; talking things through, never dwelling on a problem long enough for it to create unnecessary conflict or miscommunication, and they were actually equals. And the suspense was nicely layered, deceptively light at the beginning, but maintaining constant tension, with the intensity building and building the more layers of truth were revealed.
The main villain was a huge surprise (I guess I forgot a lot about this story since I first read it), and the resolution to the story, both investigation- and romance-wise very satisfactory.
Understated, subtle, elegant, well-written, well-paced...Loved it.