THE CRYSTAL ROSE
Brandewyne is known for her lush, exquisite prose, powerful emotions, original plots and unforgettable characters. Though her latest begins with an intriguing twist, immediately drawing readers into the story, the novel quickly becomes ordinary, simplistic and stereotypical, lacking Brandewyne's usual heady sensuality, gothic overtones and the lyrical voice readers adore and expect from a writer of her caliber.
At first, the letter seems harmless, but when a strangely familiar Indian businessman makes her acquaintance and awakens old desires, Rose follows her instincts and discovers that Hugo is very much alive. They plan to expose his cousin as the man who arranged the murders of Hugo's family and untangle a web of treachery that threatens Queen Victoria's and Prince Albert's lives. (Mira, Dec., 400 pp., $6.99)