Review: Deadly Vows by Brenda Joyce

Deadly Vows (Hqn)Reviewer: Jen 

Series: Deadly (#9)
Release Date: February 22nd, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin
Page Count: 379
Source: Purchased (read for fun)
Blurb: On the morning of her wedding to Calder Hart, amateur sleuth Francesca Cahill is lured away to a private viewing of a portrait that could destroy her entire family: the nude Hart commissioned of her. Her desperate quest to recover the scandalous portrait leads her into a dangerous trap with no way to escape—until it’s too late. And when Francesca finally arrives at the church, it’s vacant. She has unintentionally jilted Hart at the altar.
When Hart tells her their estrangement is for the best, Francesca is devastated. With a blackmailer intent on destroying her reputation, Francesca turns to Rick Bragg, the city’s powerful police commissioner. Together they scour the sordid streets of lower Manhattan, following a deliberately laid trail of clues in a race against the clock. And once it becomes clear that Bragg’s marriage is failing, Francesca must war with her feelings for him, battle Hart’s jealousy and escape a killer—all as she fights to win Hart back. But sometimes, passion just cannot be denied…. 
Review: I am a longtime fan of this series.  The 8th book, Deadly Kisses, was originally published back in 2006 (it was re-released this year).  The book totally left the reader hanging with the promise of Francesca and Hart’s upcoming wedding.  But then the publisher put a hold in the series, so fans had to wait five long years for the return of Francesca Cahill.  I’m hoping that Deadly Vows isn’t the end of the series, however, if it is, I’m glad Brenda Joyce got a chance to resolve the cliff-hanger.
This series has so many things going for it.  I especially enjoy the historical setting of turn of the century (1901) New York City.  Francesca is a strong, independent young lady from an influential family, that stumbles into a mystery that throws the doors open on her sheltered life.  As the series continues, Francesca has really grown, as a woman, sleuth and as a person.  She doesn’t let her position in society jade her and she’s open to helping anyone who asks for her assistance.  She’s had a two love interests over the course of the series, and they both play a prominent part in Deadly Vows
While this book can stand alone, new readers to the series may be lost with the return of many old characters.  In fact, I found myself a little confused with the influx of characters and numerous mentions of past cases and wished I’d re-read the series before tackling this one.  If you’re looking for a solid mystery series, with a healthy dose of romance, check out this series.  Here are the books in order:

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