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Publisher: Five Star  
Release Date: June 2003  
ISBN: 0786247673 
Format Reviewed: Hardcover 
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Genre:  Victorian romance/suspense
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer:  Barbara Buhrer
Reviewer Notes:  

The Shocking Miss Shaw
By Justine Willich  

     Sierra Shaw's stepmother receives a letter supposedly from her husband, Geoffrey Trowbridge, demanding railroad stocks she owns. It was believed that Geoffrey had been killed when the steamboat he was on exploded. His resurrection would seriously damage Sierra's father's political career, so she determines to go to England to search for the blackmailer.

     She pretends to be a brash American in search of a titled husband, but Fitzhugh Kent, head of the division of Queen Victoria's Secret Service, is suspicious of Sierra's motives. When he learns of her forays into the dark world of London's Seven Dials district, he attempts to rescue her from her foolhardiness. He finds a connection between those railroad stocks and his father's death, which he believes to be a murder.

     Sierra and Fitz continue to work at cross purposes even though they are deeply attracted to each other.

     This is a clever, well-written romance about two people who struggle to maintain their independence while fighting against their mutual attraction. The spirit of the times and the people are successfully portrayed with a view of Victorian society. The characters are well developed; the dialogue is witty and realistic.