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Another of Darcy's neatly buttoned and pleasantly furbelowed Regency romances--with, as usual, no heaving bosoms. . . thanks to a fairly spunky and sensible heroine. She's pretty orphan Caroline Devereaux, impoverished after the death of her widowed mother but befriended and given a job by beautiful actress Julia Daventry--the green room toast of London's titled toffs. (Including Lord Redvers Wrexham, who hopes to make a splash by sporting Byronic locks and writing Byronic poetry--rather dreadful poetry.) There are also some inklings of family wealth for Caroline: her great-uncle Chandos has died; cousin Neville (a virtual stranger) has been attempting to find a missing will; and the inheritance has been shadily claimed by Chandos' sister-in-law, the silly Mrs. Knox-Gore (with charming son Sidney, whom, apparently, Chandos had treated as a son). Furthermore, Caroline is beginning to flutter a bit at the attractions of Wrexham (who dispenses with Byronic attitudes and reverts to elementary boyish charm), although his formidable mater growls at the notion of his marrying a chit with no money and theatrical connections. And meanwhile Neville and Julia also come to a boil. Finally, then, Caroline's in peril from covert machinations going on in Uncle Chandos' elegant preserves, involving a brace of fortune hunters and a sinister footman: she walks into a trap; there's a busy wind-up, with Caroline and Redvers trussed up and tossed into the basement; Julia is held at knife point; after a nick-of-time rescue, the villains are run to ground; lovers pair; justice is done; and (surprise) Caroline's an heiress. All in all: a reliable period trifle.

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 1981
Publisher: Walker