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Bradley, Celeste

BRADLEY, Celeste

PERSONAL: Married; children: two.

ADDRESSES: Home—TN. Agent—c/o Author Mail, St. Martin's Press, 175 5th Ave., New York, NY 10019. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Writer.

WRITINGS:

Fallen, Dorchester Publishing Company (New York, NY), 2001.

To Wed a Scandalous Spy, St. Martin's Paperbacks (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor to My Scandalous Bride, St. Martin's Paperbacks (New York, NY), 2004.

LIAR'S CLUB SERIES

The Impostor, St. Martin's Paperbacks (New York, NY), 2003.

The Pretender, St. Martin's Paperbacks (New York, NY) 2003.

The Charmer, St. Martin's Paperbacks (New York, NY), 2004.

The Spy, St. Martin's Paperbacks (New York, NY), 2004.

The Rogue, St. Martin's Paperbacks (New York, NY), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS: Romance writer Celeste Bradley made her writing debut with the novel Fallen, the story of a notorious London bachelor and a spinster housekeeper who make a sham engagement to secure his inheritance and her independence. The pair is surprised to discover that they are strongly attracted to each other. This theme of deception and unlooked-for romance is further developed in Bradley's subsequent series of novels, the "Liars Club" books.

The first "Liar's Club" novel, The Pretender, focuses on Simon Montague Rain, one of a group of spies who serve the British crown during the Regency period. As part of an investigation into the murder of several fellow spies, he must infiltrate the home of the beautiful Mrs. Agatha Applequist to search for a traitor. But Agatha has her own secrets: she has arrived in London posing as a married woman so that she can travel unchaperoned to look for her missing brother James. She now wants Simon, who appears as a chimney sweep, to act as her husband at a social event. Both come to thoroughly enjoy their relationship of convenience, but it becomes problematic for Simon when it threatens his resolve to follow the Liar's Club rule of never falling in love. The often humorous adventure appealed to Booklist reviewer John Charles, who called the novel "a witty and delectable combination of superbly crafted characters and an intrigue-steeped plot." Library Journal contributor Kristin Ramsdell called the premise "a wonderful idea" and recommended the book to "readers who like their historicals laced with laughter yet on the mysterious side."

In The Impostor Bradley concocts a romance featuring the young widow Clara Simpson and Liar's Club member Dalton Montmorency. Under the name Sir Thorogood, she secretly pens political cartoons that anger the Crown. When Dalton poses as the cartoonist, hoping to press the real artist into revealing his identity, Clara also assumes a disguise to discover who the impostor is. When their paths cross, he thinks she is a maid and she assumes that he is a burglar, deceptions that do not dull the resulting spark of romantic interest. A Publishers Weekly writer called The Impostor a "delightful comedy of errors."

The heroine of The Spy is Phillipa Atwater, a young woman who is forced to assume the guise of a male tutor when her father goes missing. To her surprise, she is quickly hired by James Cunnington, whom her father bid her to watch in a cryptic message. At the same time, James is searching for Phillipa, but she does not know it. According to Booklist critic John Charles, The Spy contains "wonderfully witty writing" and is "every bit as much fun" as its predecessors.

The Charmer is the fourth installment in "The Liar's Club" series. Its central characters are spies-in-training Collis Tremayne and Rose Lacey. When their adversarial behavior threatens the school, both are tested to see if they will in fact make good spies. Rose is unsuccessful in her test mission, but she uncovers other important developments in London. Noting that allusions to pop culture are an important element in Bradley's humor, Nina C. Davis commented in Booklist that The Charmer is "sure to provide a pleasant few hours' diversion."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, May 1, 2003, John Charles, review of The Pretender, p. 1583; February 1, 2004, John Charles, review of The Spy, p. 954; October 1, 2004, Nina C. Davis, review of The Charmer, p. 315.

Library Journal, May 15, 2003, Kristin Ramsdell, review of The Pretender, p. 72.

Publishers Weekly, September 22, 2003, review of The Impostor, p. 90; May 3, 2004, review of My Scandalous Bride, p. 177.

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