In 1813, Priscilla Denver--orphan, heiress, and our narrator (an unusually brisk one for Regency romance)--buys the Dower House on her snobby but impoverished Aunt Ethelberta's sea-coast estate. What Priscilla and her companion Miss Slack soon discover, however, is that the land around and under the House belongs to their new neighbor--the rude, pushy Duke of Clavering. And so Priscilla and Clavering commence nonstop feuding: he wants to buy the House (for a Roman antiquities museum, he says); she wants a renewed lease on the land; he makes fun of her lack of riding expertise; she's appalled by the fact that he sets mantraps all over his estate; he flirts shamelessly with 50-year-old Miss Slack (who occasionally interrupts Priscilla's narrative to present her version) and gets her interested in Roman ruins. It's love, of course, but the lovers won't reach that conclusion until after the mystery of the Dower House's clanking grate and ghostly noises is revealed: Priscilla finds a secret passage and learns that the Duke (with his illegitimate cousin) has a brandy-smuggling operation based underneath the House. But never fear. The Duke's really a good guy--a spy against Napoleon. Lots of dry charm, virtually no action--a talky but tart daub of Regency comedy.