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'Call me Charles!' he commanded, bending to kiss the tip of her ear and then to nibble gently on it, causing a whole chain of explosive reactions throughout Helena's body."" And Helena's interior hubbub is pretty much the only snap-crackle in this clichÉ-stiff Regency--which begins when poor orphan Helena Dendridge and her arrogant sap of a brother, Sir Lionel, are about to be booted from their ancestral home. Their late father, you see, gambled away his all to Lord Charles Waverley, and then inconsiderately shot himself. But in spite of Lord Waverley's formidable appearance, when he approaches the Dendridge siblings from his ""magnificent height,"" it's obvious to Helena that he's a good chap. Indeed, unbeknownst to Helena, Waverley has arranged that she will ""do"" the Season in London. So Helena goes off to stay with her horrid Aunt Maria and her daughters, nasty Mary Ann and nice Wilhelmina (Auntie has been paid a goodly Waverley sum for her hospitality); and beautiful widow Lady Amelia Ashworth (who hopes to wed Lord W.) helps Helena to suit up for Almacks and the joys of the ton. Meanwhile, however, Lionel--the pig--has been carousing and gambling and is hopelessly in debt. And, knowing this, the dastardly Sir Giles Moseby plans a Helena abduction. So finally, then, since Charles and Helena have fallen in love (to the distaste of Lady Amelia), it's Charles who will rescue Helena from Sir Giles' glowering castle, A Regency re-run without wit, style, or lively personae: uncommonly blah, especially in contrast to Metzger or even Diamond (above).

Pub Date: Dec. 3rd, 1982
Publisher: Doubleday