Mingled in the familiar Regency love-froth here, there's a heavy dollop of reformist sentiment for the exploited rural poor--which slows the pace considerably. Princess Anthea von Hollenberg, the not-inconsolable English widow of an elderly Austrian aristocrat, is traveling in Italy when her carriage is beset with bandits. Galloping to her rescue is a tall English stranger--who introduces himself as Mr. Stretton and takes thrilling liberties at a local inn, quoting love poetry and kissing Anthea (who has concealed her royal identity). But Anthea recovers and storms off, home to London, to live with Aunt Harriet, Harriet's step-son Phillip, son Julian, and daughter Fanny. And who, amid the social crush, steps in to introduce himself by his true name, Lord Lyndock? Of course. Anthea is drawn to Lyndock; however, poor little Fanny weeps away because she was sure Lyndock had loved her; furthermore, nasty Lady Fenwick seems to have been Lyndock's mistress and has blabbed about that indiscretion of Anthea's at the Italian inn. Plus: could Lyndock be a fortune-hunter? Understandably, Anthea is confused and angry, and in a weak moment of regret she opts to marry respectable stick Phillip. So what will bring Anthea to her senses? Well, it all has to do with Phillip's bloodthirsty plan to toss old tenants off his land for enclosure--as Lyndock and Anthea rescue a youngster from the gallows. . . and it's curtains for Phillip. Adequate but slow and lusterless.