Another one of those Regency novels in which the heroine is, over a considerable time, tiresomely dense about perceiving the sterling qualities of the hero (whom the reader recognizes at once as a Noble Sort). The lovely dum-dum this time is nobly born Julia, who returns to London after the death of her ne'er-dowell Papa (by mysterious gunfire) and tries to keep his death secret--in order to avoid his creditors, keep her position in Society, and set her cap for rich, shady Lord Garde. But a French acquaintance, Lucien the Marquis du Vallon, knows Julia's secret and demands, as the price of his silence, entrÃ‰e into London society. So Julia's pursuit of Lord Garde is complicated by Lucien--and by the Lord's mad flirtation with Julia's half-sister Sophie, who's playing while her stolid husband is away. Julia does finally get a proposal from Garde, but mild mysteries inch slowly up through dialogue viscous with gratuitous French I vocabulary (""Billiards is more amusant than pistols""). Is Lucien really a French spy? Why is his sister a prisoner of Napoleon? Why is Garde so eager to dispose of Lucien (he delivers Lucien a near-fatal wound)? Will Sophie see the error of her ways? Eventually, of course, after Garde reveals his true couleurs, Julia will find amour with the right homme. Comme ci. comme ca, with more talk and less action than Chester's A Love So Wild (1980)--for diehard Regency fans only.