Rarely has a storyteller as magical and gifted as Judith Lansdowne graced the pages of Regency romance. Already a treasure of the genre, this dazzling talent sweeps us off into sheer enchantment in her second remarkable book.

He had been exiled under the most scandalous of circumstances. Only his high birth had saved him from the gallows. Now, however, the widowed Duke of Abbercombe is back in England, determined to shrug off the past and make a home for his eight irrepressible children.

Miss Olivia Willburton-Smythe is horrified that her friend Lady Jessica must undertake the unfortunate duty of chaperoning her scapegrace brother-in-law's eldest daughters as they make their debut in polite society. But her cold heart melts in the shining warmth that surrounds the rascal and his family, and before she knows it, she is caught fast by his charm.

The duke, however, has a secret agenda, one that makes him the target of both a nefarious spy and an unknown attacker. Can his loyal family and newfound friends, including Beau Brummel himself, keep him alive to complete his mission?

Fresh, original, and totally enchanting are but a few words to describe a spellbinding romance you will read and reread over and over again. A "forever" book for that desert island. (Apr., 320 pp., $4.50)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer