Sophie Champion is caught in a most awkward circumstance when she meets the imperiously dashing Crispin Foscari, knows as the Earl os Scandal. After all, the smart, strikingly beautiful young lady happens to be disguised as a man. And she happens to be standing over a corpse. Having come to seek the truth behind the suspicious death of her godfather, she finds herself instead caught in a tangled web of clues and deciet designed to implicate her in tyhe murer. Only the Earl of Scandel himself can unravel the web-- and he has a mysterious agenda of his own.
From Publishers Weekly
Like the Scarlet Pimpernel, outrageously handsome and brilliant Crispin Foscari, the earl of Sandal, who first appeared in Jaffe's The Stargazer, has carefully built a wastrel's reputation while making quite another as Phoenix, invaluable spy for her majesty, Queen Elizabeth I. Now, however, he is in a spot: he has been given only a little more than a fortnight to find the person who's accusing him of treason. Meanwhile, he is investigating a beautiful and brilliant woman, Sophie Champion, who is suspect in Elizabethan England because she has seemingly endless resources, is a heroine to the street people and may have had something to do with her godfather's death. Crispin is smitten, however, and Sophie assures him she is neither a murderer nor any kind of malefactor, but she cannot be sure that he is above suspicion. Their rollicking adventures, detailed lovemaking and spirited sparring make for a great read, despite episodes of purple prose and predictable plot developments. It is clear from the very start, for example, that Crispin and Sophie will wind up together, and there are far too many references to the heroine's "tender bud." And Sophie's station in life is a stretch of the imagination: she becomes exceedingly rich at age 16, but keeps her wealth secret; she buys an old abbey with a gorgeous room full of stained glass, and fills it with needy women. And she's beautiful to boot. Still, Jaffe's second historical romance marks her as a writer to watch. While the novel calls for a bit more suspension of disbelief than readers may be willing to give, the protagonists are captivating, and one hopes that Jaffe will focus next on Crispin's intriguing family.
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