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What is versatile Joan Aiken doing back in Regency land? Having fun--with the most ingenious Impostures and Deceits, not to mention attempted Murders, practiced on a most agreeable heroine in company with the cheerfulest Cockneys and Debtors imaginable. Kind, witty Philadelphia Carteret has a dotty Mama who was cast off by her high-tone family when she married down, so ""Delphie"" must slave away supporting herself and mum--in very low lodgings in Soho--by giving piano lessons. But Mama has doctor bills that necessitate an application for help to misogynistic old Uncle Mark, Lord Bollington--upon which it appears that some other young woman, Elaine, has been passing herself off as Delphie for the last 20 years, not only usurping her identity but getting engaged to handsome heir Gareth Penistone in the process! Impostor Elaine being busy in Bath, and a marriage scene being needed for Uncle M's deathbed will-signing (Mum will get an annuity), Delphie stands in. But, since slinking cousin Mordred fouls up the attempt to fix up a feigned marriage ceremony, Delphie finds herself truly wed. And when new husband Gareth turns out to have not a mistress, as Delphie had thought, but an invalid sister with ten children and a debtor husband ia the Marshalsea prison, true love begins to flower, despite various attempted evilnesses by Mordred and Elaine. A country-dance in the high style, twirled to the tune of a proven virtuoso.

Pub Date: April 14th, 1978
Publisher: Doubleday