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A fatty late-Victorian gothic romance, with a surfeit of all the staples of the genre: old mansion, nasty family secrets, locked doors, hints of dire deaths, and a heroine who's been warned. This one is accident-prone (she slips on ice, picks up a burning ember, etc.), and is given to shimmering in outrage with such zingers as: ""I am not some trollop that you can seduce at whim!"" Poor orphan Lillith Catfield goes to Darby Hall (she arrives with a fever and has an accidental blow on the head) only to find that instead of governess-ing, she's expected to marry Damien, crippled artist son of Lord Darby ("" 'What you are telling me, Lord Darby, is that you are looking for a brood mare for your son,' I charged""). Damien says rude things, and Lillith is constantly flouncing off and slamming up to her room. Meanwhile, mystery abounds in the Hall. Why will no one speak of Anitra, dead daughter of Lord D.? Why is Damien blamed for her death? Why do some family members and guests urge Lillith to split, others to stay? Lillith--in between trading insults with Damien--spies night visitors on the grounds; reads a secret diary; sees a body floating in the lake; sniffs out evidence of incest; and in general goes where no outsider has gone before. But eventually there's a marriage after all--and more danger and horrid surprises before the final, fiery wipe-out. The problem here is not the plot--no sillier than most of the Shivering Chemise genre--but the lack of style and glitter. By the author of such paperback titles as Camerleigh (1085), Mayfair (1986)and Channing Hall(1987), written under the name of Evelyn Grey.

Pub Date: Sept. 7th, 1989
Publisher: St. Martin's