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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Period romance full of thrills and chills, 9 Jan 2005
Mrs. H. V. Aver (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Smile of the Stranger (Paperback)
The Smile of the Stranger is a period romance by Joan Aiken which should please readers who find Jane Austin too slow for their liking.

From the very start of the book, when a frightening new presence enters the life of our heroine Juliana and her dying father, Juliana is snatched up and whisked off on a breathless chase through the revolutionaries of France, over the Channel in a balloon, to the loveless residence of her English grandfather. She barely has time to gather herself before she is taken off to the high society of London, where she is embroiled in a mess of romantic and financial entanglements. As she learns more about the mystery of her parentage, she realises that a great many people are very interested in her fate, and not all for the right reasons.

Joan Aiken apparently wrote several period romances/thrillers, but this is the first I have found. The way it really stands out from standard romance novels is in the increasingly bizarre and unlikely situations the heroine finds herself in- classic Aiken stuff, with abductions, mysterious strangers and terrible betrayals at every corner. The cover art looks as if the artist knew the general plot of the book, but nothing of the characters or of the details of the scene portrayed.

If you're looking for another book of this type from Joan Aiken, you could try The Five Minute Marriage, which is advertised on the cover. It seems likely it would be in the same category.
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The Smile of the Stranger
The Smile of the Stranger by Joan Aiken (Paperback - Oct 1981)
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