Perfect in Your Sight
by Tanya Anne Crosby
($5.99, Avon, PG-13) ISBN: 0-380-78572-2
***
Tanya Anne Crosby has abandoned Scotland and set her newest novel in Victorian New York. Perfect in My Sight is an interesting story with an interesting premise, which hovers on the cusp between 3 and 4 in my mind. But it has a couple of flaws which, for me at least, make it an acceptable romance but not one that I can recommend without reservations.

First the plot: Sarah Woodward and her cousin Mary were as close as sisters and when they were seventeen and foolish, made a pact not to marry. When Mary meets and falls in love with the young Wall Street wunderkind Peter Holland, Sarah feels betrayed and refuses to return from Paris for the wedding. In fact, she and her cousin become estranged. Then, her cousin is murdered in an attack that leaves her infant son blind. Suspicion falls on the husband but he seems to have an alibi. But the yellow press has a field day when Mary's diaries reveal that she was a most unhappy wife.

Now it is six years later and Sarah still broods about her cousin's death, still wishes to investigate the circumstances, still wishes to determine whether indeed, Peter is the guilty party. When she sees an advertisement seeking a teacher for young Christopher, she decides to apply. She also decides to pretend to be blind, to give her greater credibility for the post. That she has become interested in the blind since Christopher's accident gives her enough knowledge to achieve some verisimilitude. But her friend Mellie, who does in fact have extensive knowledge of teaching the blind, agrees to accompany her on her quest.

This is an interesting premise and Crosby creates in Christopher a child who is bright but handicapped, and who needs the love Sarah can give him as well as the instruction in braille that she provides. But danger lurks in the Holland household and threats to Sarah's well being begin once it appears that Peter is taken with the young teacher.

I guess the major problem I had with the book had to do with the relationship between the hero and heroine. I can accept Peter's instant attraction to the young teacher: she is lovely, bright, cheerful and brings light into a dark household. I have more trouble accepting Sarah's similar immediate attraction to the man she knows made her cousin unhappy and thinks may be responsible for her death. I inevitably prefer relationships to develop rather than blossom with such suddenness, and I do find Sarah's responses inexplicable.

My second problem centered on the identity of the villain. I realize that this is a romance not a mystery, but I did figure out who the murderer was about two seconds after said murderer was introduced. I would like a bit more suspense.

These two caveats aside, Perfect in Your Sight is a perfectly acceptable historical romance.

--Jean Mason


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