It takes a rare talent to devise a clever farce without losing the emotional intensity romance fans require in their reading. Allison Lane is just such a wonderful talent.

George Edward Randolph Catherwood, Earl of Symington, does not want to get married. But how can he resist the whispered pleas of his seemingly dying ducal grandfather? It could be worse, though.

He might have had to search the drawing rooms of London for an eligible bride; instead, all he has to do is to travel to the isolated home of the granddaughter of his grandfathers best friend and decide if she could be a suitable wife.

But why suffer alone on this unwelcome trip? Isnt it the duty of a friend to bear him company in such trying circumstance? And so he persuades his friend Sedge to accompany him, setting in motion a chain of events which will result in mass confusion after a carriage mishap.

For her part, lady Elizabeth Fosdale wants no part of her unscrupulous fathers plan to trap a wealthy son-in-law. Determined to remain free of any mans control, she takes drastic action to avoid her prospective bridegroom. But fate, in the form of a vicious rainstorm and flood, has other plans...

Skillfully choreographing an intricate set of events and relationships, Ms. Lane adds just the right note of emotional depth to a cleverly plotted tale Regency readers will relish with great delight. (Apr., 223 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer