Piper Chase-Pierpont is a 30 year old, plain, boring senior curator at the Boston Museum of History and Culture. When her position is threatened by funding cuts, she realizes her last chance to secure her job is by creating an outstanding exhibit on the great Civil War abolitionist, Ophelia Harrington. But when Piper discovers Ophelia's secret diaries in a hidden compartment of a truck in the museum basement, her plans for the exhibit - and the recent return of an old flame - get turned upside down. Using the diaries as a guide to seduction, Piper unlocks her own independence and sexuality while unlocking the secrets of a woman long before her time.
Review: As a borderline addict of trashy romance novels, I expected this to be an Anglicized version of The Rosetti Letter. It was very similar, though far more explicit than academic, but still enjoyable. The stereotypical dowdy-academic main character was a bit frustrating, and I found it rather difficult to believe that a woman of Ophelia's social class would run away to be a professional prostitute. However, Piper's use of Ophelia's diaries was creative and her plan of seduction was refreshing after eons of novels in which the woman is the seduced.
The ending twist in both stories is both somewhat predictable while at the same time riveting (and at a point, inspiring in the gutsy-ness displayed). I give this one - for a dual-period, dual-author romance I picked up at the airport - 3.5 out of 5 stars. Be warned: there are large chunks of this books that are extremely sexually explicit - not for the faint of heart or prudish mind, i.e. I loved it.
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“All the secrets of the world are contained in books. Read at your own risk.” -- Lemony Snicket