This fast-moving tale contains all the right elements for a perfect summer read: romance, exotic locales and mysterious characters. They are mixed together so seamlessly, it's impossible not to lose yourself in this wonderful escapist fare.

At age 38, Precious Rafferty is happy enough running her antique shop in Paris, but she realizes she's never had that grand "sweep you off your feet" romance. Ask and you shall receive. One snowy evening at a Paris cafe, she meets businessman Bennett James, an American based in Shanghai. Preshy is instantly smitten, and overnight her life changes drastically.

But it isn't long until those close to her are asking questions about the mysterious Bennett. Coincidentally, her cousin Lily Song from Shanghai, whom she's never met, is leaving her urgent messages. Is there a connection? Preshy goes from Paris to Venice to Shanghai to the United States to find out. (ST. MARTIN'S, Jul., 384 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Sandra Garcia-Myers