The extraordinary talent of Emma Jensen dazzles us in an exquisitely crafted comedy of manners Regency connoisseurs will not want to miss. It is time for Tarquin, Sixth Earl of Hythe, to choose a bride. To that end, he has inflicted a series of houseparties on his long-suffering mother, parading one beauty of the ton after another through a rigorous selection process.

One gathering remains. This time, however, his mother wants compensation in the form of the company of her eccentric best friend and her niece Sibyl, despite the fact that Tarquin visibly shudders at the thought of once again encountering the irrepressible minx who has plagued him since childhood.

So why does Sibyl look so different now? And why do his eyes stray from his prospective brides and follow her instead? And just what is there about her that makes this very dignified lord want to throw convention to the winds?

Writing physical farce is a rare art, but Ms. Jensen proves herself to be a master at orchestrating one hilarious episode after another with impeccable comic timing, and she knows how to touch our hearts in the process. A gem indeed! (Sep., 199 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer