Edward Beaumont and Diana marry in the flare of publicity. Only Melanie, his recently discovered illegitimate daughter, feels a note of sadness. She can't help thinking of her mother, who loved Edward but never lived this kind of happiness with him. Responding to her emotions, Mel takes a year off from her successful acting career. She is tired of playing naive, airy blondes, anyway.
She stumbles into the street act of an old Aussie friend who knew Mel when she was a young soap opera star and who challenges her to experience life, to do real work. A cleaning service is her choice and her first job is the apartment of Jack Wolfe, a business tycoon, perfectly suited for the role of "midnight lover" Melanie's sisters think she needs.
The role of Cinderella goes smoothly until Jack needs a classy companion-in-intrigue to lull corporate spies into thinking he's on vacation and his current girl refuses the role. Jack is suitably stunned by the transformation of his cleaning woman into jet-set princess, but Melanie can't convince the prince who she really is, even by telling the truth.
Liz Fielding continues her Beaumont Brides trilogy in topnotch form with Melanie's identity crisis, a uniquely creative, entertaining and insightful reversal of Cinderella's move from working girl to princess. (Nov. 388 pp., $3.99)