Published by Bantam on (first published 1997)
Genres: Historical Romance, Historical romantic suspense
Source: the library
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Also by this author: Crystal Gardens, The Mystery Woman, Otherwise Engaged, Garden of Lies, 'Til Death Do Us Part, The Girl Who Knew Too Much, With This Ring, Rendezvous, Tightrope
Charlotte Arkendale knew all there was to know about men. After all, she'd made a career out of steering marriage-minded women away from untrustworthy members of the opposite sex.
Yet nothing could have prepared her for Baxter St. Ives—an arresting stranger too daring, too determined, too dangerous to be her new man-of-affairs. Still, perhaps he was the perfect person to help Charlotte investigate the recent murder of one of her clients. So she gave him a chance, never realizing that Baxter, a gifted scientist, would soon conduct a risky exploration into the alchemy of desire, with Charlotte as his subject.
But even as he sets out to seduce Charlotte, a twisted killer lies in wait, ready to part the lovers...or see them joined together forever—in death.
Published six years later than Rendezvous (which I reviewed earlier this week), Affair is more akin to the the romantic-suspense novels of the 21st-century Quick than the frothier, lighthearted romances she wrote in the ’80s and ’90s. For one thing, the mystery is no longer secondary to the romance, but of equal importance. And Charlotte and Baxter are in the mold of her later romantic-suspense couples. Charlotte is in her mid-twenties, independent, intelligent, and supremely self-assured. Baxter is solitary, logical, self-controlled, and holds himself at an emotional distance—characteristics that Charlotte, by her very nature, challenges at every turn.
I found the suspense plot interesting, though not particularly original (thought that may be because I’ve read so many Quick/Krentz novels.) I wasn’t as drawn to Charlotte and Baxter as I have been to some of her other hero-heroine pairs. Baxter’s romantic ineptitude and disregard for the social niceties began to frustrate me after a while, and Charlotte’s headstrong nature led her to take foolish chances more than once. I liked them well enough despite these flaws, but they aren’t my favorite Quick characters. The same can be said of my reaction to the book as a whole: entertaining, but not among my favorites Quick novels.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- The Backlist Reader Challenge 2018