Jeanne Carmichael brings a fresh lustre to classic Regency romance in this high-spirited tale of hidden identities and dashing strangers.

All her life Miss Candace Stafford has done her best to be a pattern card of propriety, a model of good behavior, to offset the scandal surrounding her mother's outrageous elopement with her lover. So it goes indeed against the grain to conceal her assistance to a wounded young gentleman she finds in the woods one day, hiding from a villainous pursuer who has already tried to kill him once.

If she does not feel free to inform her vicar uncle, she certainly is not about to reveal anything to the handsome stranger who rides into town ostensibly to purchase a nearby estate for his younger half-brother. Little does she know that he is in fact a high-born earl trying to foil a murderous plot of revenge. What she does know is that the gentleman is a charmer who melts her heart in spite of her suspicions.

Ms. Carmichael embodies the very best of Regency storytelling, blending a warmly appealing pair of lovers, memorable secondary characters and an exciting plot into sheer reading delight. (Sept., 233 pp., $4.50)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer