Body Language

Everyday, Average Jones

Forbidden

Freedom's Price

Harvard's Education

Heartthrob

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Kiss and Tell

Love With the Proper Stranger

Time Enough for Love

 
Undercover Princess
by Suzanne Brockmann
(Silh. Int. Mom. #968, $4.25, PG) ISBN 0-373-07968-O
****
Undercover Princess is the second book in Silhouette's newest cross-line series "Royally Wed. The Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Wynborough (a small island country off the coast of England) was kidnapped as an infant and has long been presumed dead. Many years later, his four sisters have reason to believe he is still alive and a search is started to locate him. Undercover Princess chronicles the efforts of Princess Katherine Wyndham in finding her missing brother James. In truth not much progress is made in the search in this book.

Princess Katherine and her sisters believe that Bill Lewis is their brother James. He lives in Albuquerque and is the partner of Trey Sutherland, a software mega millionaire. Lewis is apparently out of town and Katherine can't get through the people screening Trey's calls until the day she is mistaken for an applicant for a nanny position.

It fits in with Katherine's low self-esteem to be easily mistaken as a frumpy English nanny. Intent on finding Bill Lewis, she accepts Trey's offer of employment with the condition that it last only two months. The other jobseekers have disappeared, perhaps finding his castle-like home too overwhelming or believing the rumors that he had murdered his wife. Kathy believes that being on the scene will be the fastest path to Lewis.

So Katherine becomes Kathy Wind, and with this change of identity begins an interesting change from a retiring personality to a self-assured one. Trey's daughter, Stacy is the child one loves to hate because of her prowess in pushing every button known to man to anger an adult. Six-year-old Dougie has retreated to his alter ego of a canine "Doggie" to mask his insecurities.

Essentially, this is a book about relationships. Kathy employs pop-psychology to start making inroads into meshing all these personalities to a point where Trey can regain the family he lost when his wife died of cancer. In the process, Kathy falls in love with Trey. Her duplicity, her royal status and his baggage surrounding his wife's death are all barriers that Princess Katherine would have not attempted to overcome. But Kathy, free from the constraints of royal duty is another proposition.

Suzanne Brockmann is perhaps most noted for her ability to deliver memorable characters in a fast paced plot. Her characters typically leave readers with a clear and indelible print. Usually they are adults, but in this novel she successfully introduces two precocious children who turn this story into one that is more warm and fuzzy than suspenseful.

The most compelling reason to read Undercover Princess is to enjoy Brockmann's originality in the construction of all her characters. The children add a new dimension in interest and she handles it with tender humor. The chemistry between Trey and Kathy is there with her usual sensual treatment. I can cheerfully recommend this book; even if it becomes the only book you read in the series.

--Thea Davis


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