"Wyrd and Wonderful Time Travel"

GRAND DESIGN by Karen Fox is the third of five novels in the Hope Chest series written by members of the Wyrd Sisters critique group. The tales revolve around the fire-damaged Chesterfield Hotel, which little over a century ago had offered every luxury to it's well to do clientele as well as nearby healing hot springs. Five people will unearth the contents of a hope chest left behind by a certain mysterious Miss Sparrow. One item will have meaning to each, whirling them back to yesteryear and if all goes well, true love.

Cynda Madison has been charged with restoring old paintings for the Hope Springs Historical Society. She is a fine artist in her own right but so far it hasn't paid the bills. She is intrigued by the handsome visage she has begun to uncover in her latest project. She soon discovers that the man portrayed had been none other than young prince Dimitri Karakov who had been tragically killed at the Chesterfield in 1889, shortly after the portrait was painted. Though the prince had been dead for over a century, Cynda feels a strange connection to him. While researching the cause of his death, she discovers the painting's battered name plate at the bottom of an old hope chest stored in the derelict hotel.

Moments later she finds herself in a transformed Chesterfield, an 1889 Chesterfield to be exact. She is greeted by Miss Sparrow herself and is hired on as a waitress. She finds herself assigned to the party which includes the handsome and arrogant young prince who is still very much alive and soon to be crowned king. Cynda believes she must find a way to prevent Dimtri's death in order to return to her own time.

Dimitri and his younger brother, Alexi had both agreed to accompany their ailing grandmother to the elegant resort so that she could avail herself of the healing waters of the hot springs. Both of the royal brothers had been subject to myriad matchmaking attempts. While Alexi had been enjoying the attention, Dimtri, who had been betrothed from childhood, had found the whole ordeal tedious. His brother's latest flirtation with the pretty new waitress was completely unacceptable. A servant was not a suitable companion for a man of royal blood. So why was he experiencing these pangs of jealousy as he watched them laugh together?

Dimitri had scoffed at Cynda's assertions that his life is in danger. She in turn had ignored his warnings to stay away from Alexi. She was determined to discern his loyalty to his brother. Dimitri had hoped that reporting her advances to the hotel management would result in her obedience to his will. Instead it costs Cynda her job. She is now frantic because an unfortunate accident involving his grandmother had forced Dimitri to stay longer than originally planned. This would insure that he would still be at the Chesterfield on the day he she knew he would be murdered.

Feeling somewhat guilty about her dismissal, Dimitri relents and commissions Cynda to paint his official portrait. Proximity works its magic. Before long the noble Dimitri is willing to cast honor aside to be with the feisty woman he has come to adore. Cynda does not want to be responsible for his dishonor, but as the fatal day approaches she finds that she will agree to anything to get him away from the hotel and thwart fate. Will she succeed? Will Cynda return to the future with a broken heart? Who wants the prince dead? What is Miss Sparrow's Grand Design?

This book, a Cinderella in reverse, has a little of everything, time travel, mystery, and wonderful character development. I thoroughly enjoyed Dimitri's metamorphoses from an arrogant, royal snob, to a man who could use his hands and heed his heart. Though characters from the other stories appear from time to time the book stands alone quite well, but I look forward to acquiring the other four stories.

Copyright 2001

Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted July 19, 2001


The Perfect Prince Charming

Restoring old paintings for Hope Springs' Historical Society isn't exactly what frustrated artist Cynda Madison wants from her career, but she has no idea just how challenging her job will become when she works on the damaged portrait of devastatingly handsome Prince Dimitri Karakov found in the ruined Chesterfield Hotel. Moved by the tragic loss of a young, vital man, Cynda begins to investigate his death. When she finds the painting's tarnished nameplate in the ruined hotel's hope chest, she is instantly swept back in time to 1887 where she meets the prince himself--very much alive and disturbingly attractive. Cynda knows she must prevent Dimitri's death to get back to her own life--but can she prevent herself from falling in love?

Hope Chest Series

The historical Chesterfield Hotel once offered visitors the graceful charm of its sumptuous rooms and the healing waters of its nearby hot springs. In the present day, as five people unearth the hotel's century-old hope chest, each will be transported back to a bygone age--and transformed by the timeless power of true love.

ENCHANTMENT by Pam McCutcheon
FIRE WITH FIRE by Paula Gill
STOLEN HEARTS by Laura Hayden
AT MIDNIGHT by Maura McKenzie


Grand Design
(Hope Chest Series: Book 3)
by Karen Fox

Zebra Books (Ballad Romance)
August 1, 2001
Available: November 6, 2006
ISBN #0821769030
EAN #9780821769034
352 pages
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Other Books by
Karen Fox

Witch High
A Touch of Charm
Impractical Magic
Cupid's Melody
Buttercup Baby
Prince of Charming

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