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    Review of THE TRUTH ABOUT LOVE by Stephanie Laurens (see her website)


    William Morrow, March 2005

    Gerrard Debbington desperately wants to paint the famous gardens of Hellebore Hall--but has no interest in painting the portrait of another English girl/woman. Finally, though, Lord Tregonning of Hellebore Hall makes him an offer he can't refuse. Paint the portrait--and he'll be given access to the gardens. Refuse and Tregonning will make sure Gerrard is banned for life. But when he travels to Cornwall, to Hellebore Hall, Gerrard discovers that the painting is only one part of a puzzle. Instead of the girl/woman he anticipated, Gerrard discovers Jacqueline Tregonning, a beautiful woman with unplumbed depths, and with the suspicion that she murdered her own mother hanging over her head. Jacqueline and her father have decided that only a painting that reveals her true soul--and her inner innocence--can clear her from the horrible rumors and doubt that have surrounded her since her mother's 'accident.'

    Gerrard falls hard for the beautiful Jacqueline, but he suspects a painting, however clear, won't be enough. He needs to find the true killer, and protect Jacqueline from the threats that surround her. In the meantime, a painter needs to get close to his subject--and Gerrard wonders if he might have strayed too close to this candle to avoid getting burned.

    Author Stephanie Laurens (see more reviews of novels by Laurens) mixes a bit of mystery, post-Regency manners, and a heavy dollop of sex in an intriguing novel. Okay, the mystery isn't hard to guess and Gerrard's goings-ons about owning Jacqueline are a little hard to take, but the sex sizzles, the English manners are in high form, and Laurens adds some slap-bang action to the exciting conclusion.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 5/26/05

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