Christina Dodd
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East meets West across time and tradition as three young American women and their Indian immigrant mothers take first steps toward true sisterhood, shattering secrets and sharing joy and tears in Christina Dodd's

Buy *Priceless* by Christina Dodd online

Christina Dodd
432 pages
January 2008
rated 2 of 5 possible stars

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Bronwyn Edana is the ugly duckling amid a string of beautiful sisters, equally hamstrung by her intelligence and learning. When her parents arrange a marriage with Adam Keane, a rather gruff and unfriendly nobleman, she finds her lack of beauty and social approbation difficult. She overhears Adam telling a friend that she is a disappointment compared to her younger sister, Olivia, and she decides to run away to stay with a French lady in a salon with whom she has had some previous dealings.

Adam comes after her, trying to woo her through seduction; he long ago decided that there is far more to Bronwyn than others realize. However, while he is in London, a big investment scheme begins to go belly-up. Adam is blamed while the real culprit, a man who is counterfeiting documents, is preparing to assassinate an important figure in the government. Adam has to get to the bottom of the counterfeiting scheme, win back Bronwyn, and extricate himself from a second engagement to Bronwyn's sister, Olivia.

Priceless is rather disappointing. Both Bronwyn and Adam feel loose in their characterization; descriptions of their behavior seem strangely changeable. Adam's behavior as a nobleman toward a gentlewoman is pretty bad, and Bronwyn's behavior is completely inappropriate for her station. The villain is a pantomime-type baddie, even down to his baldness and pock-marked face. The dialogue and behavior of the characters is inaccurate to this historical period, particularly as they speak with modern-day American word forms rather than 19th-century English ones. The love story doesn't seem to be much about love, and the occasional touches of violence by the hero are unappealing. The South Sea Company plot has some promise but is simplistic overall. Priceless is a wasted opportunity, and its underlying message - that all men are faithless and women end up in love with them despite their better instincts - isn't very encouraging.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Helen Hancox, 2008

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