Jane Davis is desperate. She and her ailing mother are far away from their gentile Southern home. Having been excessively sheltered, she has never become part of the community, who refer to her as "Queen Jane." Now, penniless, she must defy everything she has been taught and beg for money.

Bank owner Rydell Wilder has been in love with Jane since they were children. When she requests a loan to start a dress store, Rydell makes her a bargain. If she succeeds in her business venture she pays back the loan; however, if she fails, she must marry him.

Jane accepts, but the contest changes as she discovers much about business, people, life and her own need for love.

A light, quick read, this traditional historical romance charms us with all the required characters, from the fragile heroine who learns her own strength to the dangerous stranger to the surprise appearance of a beloved Southern nanny, just in time to guide Jane to her heart's truth. Jane's struggle to discover herself makes this an appropriate tale for all ages, as well as a sweet introduction to the romance genre for younger readers. SWEET (Jun., 299 pp., $4.50)

Reviewed by: 
Anne Black