The Mistress (Great Chicago Fire Trilogy, #2)
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The Mistress (Great Chicago Fire Trilogy #2)

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3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  917 ratings  ·  62 reviews
Each believing the other to be a wealthy socialite, maidservant Kathleen O'Leary and con man Dylan Kennedy become completely smitten with each other at a social gathering on the eve of the Great Chicago Fire. Caught up in the danger of the fire and the intensity of their feelings, they get married. But when the truth about their social standing is discovered, everything ch...more
Paperback, 408 pages
Published October 1st 2000 by Mira Books (first published 2000)
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Misfit
The girl: Kathleen O'Leary is maid to one of the ladies at a posh female academy (she's managed to suck up lots of book-learning helping her mistress study). As a lark, a couple of the more forward-thinking students decide to experiment and see if they can pass Kathleen off as a lady at a posh party. She's a smash in her fancy dress and borrowed jewels and catches the eye of the hottest bachelor to hit Chicago in years - but little does she know...

The guy: Dylan Francis Kennedy may look and soun...more
Bill
This is the second book in the Chicago Fire Trilogy by Susan Wiggs. The other two are The Hostage and The Firebrand. I enjoyed both these books very much, as well as The Lightkeeper. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing about The Mistress. I couldn’t empathize with the con-artist hero, just as I have problems with pirate heroes. And if I don’t like the hero, than I have problems with the woman who loves him. The book was good enough for me to finish it. It has quite a bit of action in it an...more
Marion Marchetto
This book is the second in as series written by Susan Wiggs. What drew me to purchase the book? 1) It is set in the United States and 2) it takes place on the night of the Chicago fire.

When Kathleen O'Leary (daughter of the woman who allegedly started the Chicago fire) accepts a dare from two upper-class girls to pass herself off as the daughter of an upper class family, she earns the attention of the most sought after bachelor in Chicago - Dylan Kennedy. What Kathleen and her friends don't kno...more
Katherine Coble
Definitely not Wiggs' best book. Of all her works, this is the one, I think, with the weakest central characters. Maybe it's because I always have a hard time relating to materialistic people, but the fact that the two leads spent most of the book mourning their lack of or in pursuit of more of the finer things in life left me feeling rather disengaged.

That being said, this still has all the trademark Wiggsisms that make her books such fun to read. There are the little period details, the proto...more
Marnie
These are the kind of books everyone loves to escape reality for just even a moment. Book two entails from the chicago series, Deborah's servant. She impersonates herself as being of the fine people and meets the man of her dreams. Or so she thought. The fine gentleman helps to keep her safe in the midst of the fire, as their feelings grow. Can't say much more without giving the good stuff away. The ending of course ends happily and predictable. But, Susan Wiggs, always seems to make you want mo...more
R.G.
It's always a bit humorous when 2 poor people dress up like their from money and then fall for each other thinking they've struck it rich... although Kathleen only did it because she's the maid of some rich girls who talked her into it to prove a point... but Dylan is a conman whose main priority is money and love just has to take a back seat... but having this set during the Chicago Fire adds that urgency of people just fighting to survive... it shows the desperation of all, the rich and the po...more
LJ
The Mistress - G
Wiggs, Susan - 2nd in Chicago Fire Trilogy

Masquerading as members of Chicago's upper crust at a glittering ball on the eve of the Great Chicago Fire, Kathleen O'Leary, a beautiful young maid, and con man Dylan Kennedy find themselves falling for each other, unaware of their mutual masquerade.

It was cute.
Rochelle
I loved the historical information about the Great Chicago Fire and the action that goes along with it.
Although I enjoyed the story, I have a hard time liking the male lead when he's a con man.
Robin
Second book in the Chicago Fire Trilogy. Ladies maid Kathleen O'Leary has borrowed a dress and jewels in order to attend a party with some friends. She catches the eye of Dylan Kennedy, the most eligible bachelor in Chicago. With the great fire sweeping down on them, they impulsively marry.

Now that they've survived the fire, Kathleen must tell Dylan that he has married a fraud. But the joke's on her. Dylan, a con artist who had only planned to steal her fortune, has been caught in his own game.

G...more
Mojca
When a “love story” starts with a deception you know you’re in for a treat. This one started with two deceptions. Both Kathleen and Dylan pretended to be something they weren’t. And their story, how they got to know each other in deception, fell in love, discovered each other’s duplicity, pretended nothing ever happened, but never managed to stay apart, was a real (double) treat to behold.

I cannot say I was moved by their story as much as by Deborah and Tom’s sweeping tale (The Hostage), but it...more
Nancy Donaghue
I was interested in the setting--Chicago during the Great Fire--but the writing is weak and the two main characters are unsympathetic.

I kept reading to see what author would do with Mrs. O'Leary, Kathleen's mother. Catherine O'Leary was a real person, believed by many to have accidentally started the fire, thanks to a journalist who made up a story about the fire's start. He later retracted it, but it was too late. That's where this comes from:

Late one night, when we were all in bed,
Old Mother...more
Crista
I thought this book was average at best until the last three chapters. I love a sweet and satisfying ending, and this one has that, and more!

The Hostage and now The Mistress read more like fiction than romance novels, but there is just enough romance to keep me, an avid romance fan, interested.

The books take place during the Great Chicago fire of 1871, and I have enjoyed reading about this time in our nation's history through these characters eyes.

Katherine was the best part of this book. Not...more
Diana Senn
Feb 20, 2014 Diana Senn rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all readers
Shelves: romance
tOTALLY ENJOYED THIS READ
Mis understands, mistaken identity and a love that over comes all. Back to the Chicago fire and meet the daughter of Oleary and live a live in the time of the fire. Background info is good and close to history. Go with her and live the days of the fire and fall in love with her savior. Meet her family ad the local priest, some high hand cheats, a black rail worker and a few other along the way
Amos
Walmart 8/6/2010. Plan to start pm 11/2/2010 while I vote and attend diabetic support meeting. up till 7:30am could not finish untill i woke at 5:44 pm done at 6: pm 11/4/2010. Hard to quit but had to stop and think about what was said. Again "Crime can pay" Legal Dishonesty very profitable. Chicago Board of Trade. several mentions of Pullman cars. Private Railroad cars built for the very rich. Comparable to modern private Jets. Several Scenes Surrounding St Bridget's church. And how it survived...more
Carrie Hinkel-Gill
I'm listening to the abridged version. I'm not a big fan of abridged versions because I always feel like I'm missing something from the story, but it's still a good way to enjoy more books. If I'm not reading a book, I'm listening to one!

I've finished this audio version and I must say, I didn't like it at all. It wasn't because the story was bad, it's that the abridged version was too choppy and you could easily tell that dialogue was missing in spots and that you didn't have all the info when i...more
Patricia
Meh. The first book was simply enjoyable, with the kind of hero and heroine I truly enjoy reading about. This one? Not so much. The hero is a con artist who makes his lving swindling and conning people. I had no respect for him, even if he did do a couple of good deeds throughout the story. I loved Kathleen, save for one major fault. She will wanted this man, knowing he was a thief, con artist, and swindler! What happened, Susan Wiggs? The first novel was so enjoyable, but this one just seriousl...more
Denise
Kathleen O'Leary, ladies maid to Deborah Sinclair goes to a society outing pretending to be an heiress.
there she meets Dylan Francis Kennedy, who is also a pretender. They have a magical moment at this outing. Chicago is on fire and they meet again, hastily get married and soon discover each others deception. Dylan is a con artist but Kathleen did not give up on him, she wanted to make this marriage work and teach him that he can change his ways. The back story of the Chicago fire was very inte...more
Allie
Jun 24, 2011 Allie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone

Kathleen is a maid, but for one night she gets to pretend to be an heiresses. Then she catches the eye of Chicagos most elgible bachelor, who happenes to also have a secret of his own.
I fell in love with the hostage from the very beginning! Therefore i had very high expectations of this book! While I dont think it was quite as good as the hostage it still had a gripping story to it kept my attention. Susan Wiggs is a very talented author and I look forward to reading The Firebrand and her ot...more
July
Kathleen O'Leary goes to a party dressed in her friend and loyal employer clothing. So she looks beautiful. But Kathleen is a maid not a society Miss. She has caught the eye of Dylan Kennedy the man who every mother in town is after for there daughter to marry.
But Dylan is a con artist so what happens when she finds out that they have both unwittingly played a masquerade. And all around them the entire town of Chicage ignites and burns.
This is the second story of this trilogy.
I truly enjoyed th...more
Jill
I loved the premise of this story--both characters pretending to be rich, etc and then marrying when they thought they wouldn't survive the night. The book was pretty good up until they married--then there was this whole section where they where travelling back and forth on a Pullman train car that no train worker ever checked on. It was very bizarre. Still okay until Dylan found out that Kathleen was not actually rich. There were still some good points after that, but I didn't think the story f...more
Marleen
The first book (The Hostage) in this series was rather enjoyable and readable, but this 2nd book (The Mistress) couldn’t capture my attention – it simply didn’t entertain me. I thought it was rather naïve. Finishing this book required a huge effort. Overall, I didn’t like the lead characters very much, because they lacked depth; especially the con artist Dylan Kennedy. Even as a light read, this one didn’t do it for me.
I truly hope the 3rd book (The Firebrand) will be more captivating.
Stacey
It was predictable and didn't have enough suspense.
April
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan
I Love Susan Wiggs writing. The history of the Chicago fire was a great backdrop for this story. It is about finding out what is really important in life. Kathleen and Dylan both pretend to be something they are not for their own gain. They get married and then spend the rest of the book figuring out who they really are and what is really important to them. The characters were well developed and likable.
Judy Wise
This is the second in the Chicago Fire Thrilogy. I found it a little strange. Took quite awhile to get into the story. Once I did I enjoyed it, figure the reason being it was just a little different from what I am used to. I did find myself well into the story about the middle of the book and am very glad that I read it. Looking forward to the final story in this trilogy.
R*beth*h Hart
Who hasn't dreamed of being someone else once in awhile, worth more than you are at the moment? Then reality comes crashing down and taking away all that you've dreamed of! What would you go through to keep what you want, what would you give up or fight for? That is what these characters find ways to deal with in the heat and aftermath of the Chicago fires.
Sue
Decent novel, premise was good with the great Chicago fire as the backdrop. But, the pacing was a bit slow for my tastes. closer to a 3.5 because the leads were excellent but the obvious hardships of the fire were glossed over more they should have, more depth there would have lent itself to a better novel.
Becky Holloway
Started off really good and thought it was a great premise. However, by the third chapter it took a turn I wasn't expecting. Hard to get through the rest of the book. Was the second book it a trilogy. First book was better, but I won't be reading the third book.
Grace
2.5 - 3

There was nothing really wrong with this, but at the same time, I haven't been into the relationships in this series much at all. It's been just a little stale. I've enjoyed the historical details and the fact that this series is set in the US though.
Kas
This book started out very interesting but as it went on I found myself having a harder time picking it up. It really went downhill after Dylan revealed his financial circumstance. I read until the third section of the book and then after that it was a dnf.
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Susan Wiggs's life is all about family, friends...and fiction. She lives at the water's edge on an island in Puget Sound, and she commutes to her writers' group in a 17-foot motorboat. She serves as author liaison for Field's End, a literary community on Bainbridge Island, Washington, bringing inspiration and instruction from the world's top authors to her seaside community. (See www.fieldsend.org...more
More about Susan Wiggs...
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