"A different \"cloth\" for a classic tale..."

In Hans Christian Andersens' classic tale of THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES, two tailors extort large sums of money from a gullible Emperor who is obsessed with fashion. In this fractured fairy tale written by Victoria Alexander our tailors become Ophelia and her younger sister Jenny. Ophelia is tired of living on the run and gambling for her next meal. The only problem is, she's only one step ahead of breaking the law and can't win enough money gambling to be able to settle down.

Which lands her in Dead End, Wyoming sitting on someone else's luggage. So when she is mistaken for the Countess of Bridgewater, maybe she is finally having the break she needs. Posing as the Countess and with a little luck, she should be able to scam the citizens of Dead End (who want to become a respectable community) out of some of their money...enough to set her and Jenny up for the rest of their lives!

The citizens of Dead End seek respectability, and are good, decent people. Our hero, Tye has recently returned from completing his education and then traveling abroad. With him, is his classmate, and friend Sedge Montgomery, the second son to a legitimate Earl...who right away knows that "Countess" Ophelia is a fraud. Tye has his suspicions, but can't prove logically the best way to discover the truth is to lure Ophelia into his bed, because everyone knows a woman can't keep a secret from a man. Only things aren't going as planned...

I didn't have a problem with the idea of Ophelia gambling but I did have a problem with her trying to scam Jack and Lorelei (Tye's Uncle and Aunt) out of money to buy a title along with property in England not hers' to sell. I had a very sick feeling of impending doom in my stomach reading through this part of the story, and therefore had a very difficult time getting past this part of the tale and into the romance (so basically great first chapter, then had a problem with the rest of the first third of the book).

However, reading further allows the reader to find out that Ophelia isn't doing a very good job acting as a Countess and I spent a couple of chapters trying to figure out if Jack knew she was trying to scam him. This made the story more entertaining for me, especially since nothing goes as planned for our heroine.

I guess in hindsight, I wasn't sure what to expect. Andersen's version of THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES was never one of my favorite fairy tales. All and all, Ms Alexander's version of THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES is a humorous, well written romantic read. But, as I mentioned, I had a problem with the initial deception and I think this spoiled the story for me.

NOTE: This book has been reissued, and the copy I read was published in 1997.

Reviewed by Cynthia Eckert
Posted May 6, 2005

Reviewed by Cynthia Eckert
Posted November 22, 2006


Ophelia Kendrake had barely finished conning the coat off a cardsharp's back before she and her adopted sister stumbled into Dead End, Wyoming, and recived a welcome fit for a queen. Mistaken for the Countess of Bridgewater, Ophelia saw no reason to reveal herself until she had stripped the hamlet of its fortunes and escaped into the sunset. Raised from grifter to gentlewoman, the fiery-haired actress couldn't help but chuckle at teaching a lesson to a town so sold on appeareances. But the free-spirited beauty almost swallowed her script when she met Tyler, the town's virile mayor. When Tyler Matthews returned from an Ivy League college and his years abroad, he simply wanted to settle down and enjoy the simplicity of ranching. But his aunt and uncle were set on making a silk purse out of Dead End, and Tyler was going to be the new mayor. It was a job he took with little relish--until he caught a glimpse of the village's newest visitor. And as Tye got to know the "Countess" Ophelia, he grew to love her. But trusting her was a different matter, and Tye swore that before he was through, he'd uncover the deepest secrets--and teach her that it's what's underneath that counts in matters of the heart.


The Emperor's New Clothes
by Victoria Alexander

Love Spell (Faerie Tale Romance)
September 1, 2004
Available: September 7, 2004
ISBN #0505521598
EAN #9780505521590
368 pages
Paperback (reprint)
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Other Books by
Victoria Alexander

My Wicket Little Lies
His Mistress by Christmas
The Perfect Mistress
Desires of a Perfect Lady
The Pursuit of Marriage
The Lady in Question
The Night Before Christmas
Yesterday & Forever
Love with The Proper Husband
Her Highness, My Wife
The Prince's Bride

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