Gyle Rawlings, the Earl of Chillingworth, was disgusted to be dubbed as an honorary Cynster by none other than Devil Cynster. Even though his life had been entwined with Devil Cynster's since their early school days at Eton, Chillingworth didn't want to be a Cynster. Everyone knew they tended to fall madly, passionately in love with their spouses and that definitely was not part of his future plans. The best way to trick the interfering Cynsters and fate was to pick out a proper, boring wife himself.
Chillingworth's plan for a practical wife involved his man of business researching blood lines, properties, and general reputation. The paragon of virtue he found was a cousin by marriage who had spent the majority of her life in Italy. Despite the fact that he had never met Francesca Rawlings, Chillingworth knew she would be the perfect wife. After all, he never heard of her in London society so she would be comfortable tucked away on one of his more isolated country estates. As long as she produced the requisite heir and a spare, everything would be fine. He spied his future bride reading in an orchard: a shy, pale looking woman. Chillingworth was satisfied with his choice, but unfortunately the woman was not Francesca.
All Francesca ever wanted from a man was deep, abiding love filled with passion--a marriage like her parents had. She was so tired of these bland, boring English gentlemen her uncle kept producing as marital candidates. She was ready to head back to Italy until she ran into Chillingworth. Now there was a man, with wide shoulders, a determined chin, and a devilish glint in his eyes--perhaps Italy could wait.
Chillingworth waited for a reply to his marital overtures, unaware that the green-eyed gypsy who stirred his blood was Francesca. While on the other hand, Francesca knew who Chillingworth was and was more than willing to accept his proposal if she thought he could fall in love with her. Francesca embarked on a three day mission to make Chillingworth do just that.
ALL ABOUT PASSION focuses on the rakish Earl of Chillingworth as the central character. The spotlight is suddenly on the intriguing earl who has inhabited so many Cynster novels. It is only fair that Chillingworth is paired with the strong, passionate Francesca. Trouble abounds when Chillingworth doesn't discover who Francesca really is until he meets his green-eyed gypsy at the altar. Then there is the issue of the mistaken bride not willing to give up her potential husband to Francesca.
The book is a playful romp through English manners and mistaken identities. A notable addition to the Cynster saga, an excellent read to enjoy on a long weekend.
Reviewed by Morgan Wyatt
© September 2004