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Carr's latest period concoction is a sturdy tatters-to-tiara-and-true-love item, jouncing amiably through Restoration England and the Colonies. Abused drudge Alicia is wasting her sweet gentility on the beery air of a tawdry wayside inn when she's discovered by young Lord Geoffrey Seavers, an ambitious, penniless sea captain with big nautical plans and the support of the newly restored King Charles II; in fact, Charles has arranged for Geoffrey to wed the soon-to-be-rich orphan Charlotte Bellamy. But. . . Charlotte is nowhere to be found! So Geoffrey, for money reasons only, decides to try to pass Alicia off as the Charlotte whom no one has seen. And, gussied up for court to meet His Majesty as Charlotte, Alicia is a knockout. (She even prompts a polite, avuncular proposition from the King.) Thus, Geoffrey and Alicia are soon infatuated with one another. Meanwhile, however, in another part of London, the real Charlotte Bellamy, who's ""fat and filthy and has all the grace of a drunk jackass,"" has been discovered by arch-villain Lord Culver Perry (who seduced Alicia and caused the death of Geoffrey's sister). And Culver plans to trot out the real Charlotte, unmask Alicia, and get the big dowry for himself. But, while Alicia and Geoffrey alternately love and battle, Alicia proves her cleverness, Culver kills Charlotte, and Alicia discovers she's really a toff after all, lost to her noble family (now in America) since she was a tot of five. Masquerades, Court grandeur with a likable monarch, a persistent villain, and a Colonies finale: an uncluttered, familiar assortment sure to please the ribbons-and-sabers brigade.

Pub Date: July 28th, 1982
Publisher: Little, Brown