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Laura James

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Olympus Mons
by William Walling

Several hundred "Marsrats," residents of a martian enclave in the shadow the gigantic Olympus Mons volcano experiences a water crisis, forcing Jesperson to devise a means..  
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By Fallen Angel Reviews
Saturday, May 13, 2006  4:57:00 PM

by Laura James

Gabrielle Cartwright has a loving sheltered childhood although her mother has died. Her father dotes on Gabrielle. She is a well-educated and gently raised young woman. Unfortunately after her father is lost at sea, Gabrielle''s Aunt takes over. She is to be married, at 16, to hideous old Viscount Herrington. Gabrielle escapes into the night, as she cannot bear the thought of giving the Viscount her body or her money.

Fortunately she comes across a fairytale castle, which is in fact a bordello. After fainting in the premises, she is taken in and nurtured until the owner; Helena can find her a position. Gabrielle does not realise that it is a house of ill repute. She wakes to hear crying in the night. The source of the distress is Kathleen, a voluptuous redhead prostitute. Kathleen believed that a client, Kevin, would return to wed her, but she has been let down. Gabrielle and Kathleen soon become firm friends. Although Gabrielle is kept away from that wing of the castle when the girls are working, one night she runs into the man of her dreams. Lord James Armstrong desires the girl, but cannot learn her name. During a party Gabrielle finds Kathleen crying in the arms of the man she had admired. She is later pleased to hear that Kathleen is to go away and marry after all. Gabrielle knows that she has lost the love of her life, but would never want to spoil her friend''s happiness. James in fact is Kevin''s mate and has come to escort Kathleen back to Scotland for the wedding. Gabrielle feels that she must get on with her life and need to search her father''s house for some important papers.

Although they all leave the castle on the same ship, Gabrielle is unaware that James and Kathleen are in another cabin. From this point on a comedy of mistaken identities erupts. Gabrielle is constantly attracted to James, but would never touch her friend''s fiancé. James and Kathleen cannot understand her reluctance to be with him.

In essence the story has some very good ideas and clever plot twists. Laura James has developed her characters very well. Although Gabrielle is overly innocent and faints often, she is an excellent portrayal of a young girl in this period. Her naiveté pulls Gabrielle through the many dramas and mishaps. She treats everyone, including the prostitutes, as equals. Lord James Armstrong is disciplined when it suits him, headstrong and has a body to die for. Ms. James has slightly overdeveloped some of the characters and stories of the side quests, which is a bit distracting and confusing to the reader. At times the descriptions are a little longwinded. This reader found Ms. James first published novel an enjoyable journey. I will be looking forward to the next release of the author. Recommended!

Reviewed by: Naomi
Fallen Angel Reviews

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