Admirers of the romantic suspense novels by the late Eleanor Hibbert (a.k.a. Philippa Carr and Victoria Holt) may find lively American counterparts in Rae's (Flight From Fifth Avenue, Feb. 1995, etc.) 19th-century, Manhattan-set, gasp-and-shudder sagas. This seventh adventure, set in 1840s New York, is splattered with antiseptic murders, eye-blinding coincidences, and narrow squeaks as a bouncy lass deals with peril--off the seas and on. Little Emily Adair is cared for by her kind uncle John, a seaman, after the death of her widowed mother. Then John is murdered and Emily snatched by the cargo pirate king, the top-hatted Jack Hasty. Trained in picking pockets, the girl is later rescued by rich and handsome John Lawrence, who hopes to convince his mentally ill wife that Emily is their dead child returned to life. Mrs. L., however, expires (after attacking Emily with a knife), and Lawrence formally adopts Emily. By the time she's 18, then, she's an art student and passionately in love with lawyer Hugh. But also by this time an unsuitable passion is brewing in the bosom of ""Pa"" Lawrence. A murder solves that problem, and Emily is whisked off to Long Island to the protection of Lawrence's kind brother Simon--who seems particularly disturbed when the young woman paints a detailed landscape of a hidden cove where mysterious cargo has been seen to come and go. Will Jack Hasty return? Of course. And off goes Emily, bound and gagged. At the close, there's not only True Love, but Emily will deliver the final blow (literally) to Hasty. In decorous schoolgirl confidences come these cheerfully preposterous period adventures, with an ending plot-twist that veteran readers will be able to spot early on...but who cares? Beautiful, intrepid Emily is a fine Hibbert-style heroine.