Just for Her
Katherine O'Neal
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Buy *Just for Her* by Katherine O'Neal online

Just for Her
Katherine O'Neal
384 pages
July 2008
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Just for Her is a very pleasant surprise: a book with a novel plot, some mystery, and a great setting. Juliana Habsburg is the last of the line of the Habsburg dynasty, but her life has become a nightmare. She's married to the unscrupulous Dominic DeRohan, a man she can't stand. Fortunately, she's been living apart from him for many years on the Riviera in the house that belonged to her ancestors. When she hears that Dominic is planning to come to the house she realizes she will have to get rid of him for good - but how?

It occurs to her that the cat burglar known as The Panther might be able to do away with him for her, so she decides to lure The Panther to her house with some of her famous jewels. When The Panther arrives, however, she finds he's not so easily commanded - or resisted. As Juliana starts an affair with The Panther, a man whose identity she doesn't know, and as the arrival of her husband causes her heartache and fear, she doesn't know how she can maintain her historical position as a Habsburg daughter and yet find happiness with The Panther, a man who says he has a secret that means they cannot have a future together.

The middle portion of the book seems mainly about Juliana trying to identify The Panther but also trying to trick her husband into annulling their marriage - yet retaining ownership of the house and her jewels. She spends time with her friends, several historical characters - F. Scott Fitzgerald, Picasso and others - all the time falling in love with her nighttime visitor. The book builds to a climax as Juliana and The Panther work together to ruin DeRohan and Juliana persists in trying to find out who he is. The final unveiling isn't a complete surprise but is still excellently written. The story shows how both Juliana and The Panther have grown, and their characters are changed during the course of the story.

This is always an enjoyable read, and the setting among the rich in the Riviera in the 1920s adds a great deal of interest. Juliana, although sometimes self-absorbed, is a good female lead, and the mysterious nature of the Panther is appealing. I look forward to more from this author.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Helen Hancox, 2008

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