After Aiken's nearly seventy novels, here is a new Regency-period epic, depicting two British schoolgirls who switch places in life and successfully fool some of the people some of the time. Sarah Alvey Clement of New Bedford, Mass., and Louisa Winship of Northumberland, England, could be identical twins, though they're not even related. What chance that they should both land in the Abbey School, Reading, scheduled to graduate in spring, 1815! Louisa, stern and selfish, is determined to be a missionary despite her parents' disapproval, and so convinces the more loving "Alvey" to return to Louisa's stately home, Birkland Hall, thus disguising from the Winships senior the fact that their unfilial daughter is actually off to Serampore, India, pursuing her chosen profession. Alvey, an aspiring novelist, is quite readily adaptable and soon finds herself ensconced at Birkland Hall, where she is held in considerably highter esteem than the hated subject of her imposture--in fact, Louisa's younger siblings have been dreading the return of their awful sister for years. The successful publication of Alvey's novel, Wicked Lord Love, does little to assuage her grief when Louisa returns, determined to regain her rightful place at Birkland. Brokenhearted, and leaving wistful new "relations" behind, Alvey sojourns in Newcastle until summoned back to possible daughterhood and even romance, chez Winship. This baroquely complex, contrived but sometimes artful period piece has its occasional moments of charm, though, all in all, it seems to be largely without point.