Strangers At Dawn
by Elizabeth Thornton, historical (1999)
Bantam, $5.99, ISBN 0-553-58117-1

Meet Sara Carstairs, card-holding elite member of the Martyred Bimbos Association Of The Romance Genre. Once upon a time in 1804, she is accused of murdering her sister's husband, the man she is reputed to be having an affair with. The man's body is never found, and hence she is acquitted. But publication owner Max Worthe figures that she is guilty and year after year, writes a thinly veiled character assassination column about Sara.

Three years later Max climbs into Sara's bed by mistake and they indulge in Let's play doctor games. When he discovers his mistake and realizes that the woman that has caught his heart is none other than that murderess Sara, ho ho. Here he comes, barging into Sara's life to look into the truth of the whole matter.

This story could be wonderful if Sara isn't such an idiot. She doesn't trust Max. Fine. But then again, she trusts anonymous messages more than a real person like Max and goes harrying off to dark, deserted places - alone - even after she has been attacked there before. When when the Big Secret is revealed, I have to roll up my eyes. The last 100 pages wouldn't have stretched on interminably if that annoyingly silly woman has just opened her mouth and blabbed.

This book has a great mystery, but frankly, with Sara's addled behavior and Max's rather annoying miscommunication problem, the whole thing plods after page 26 and is a standstill midway through.

Rating: 62

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