Monique Ellis wields her wonderful pen with stylish grace in a heart-tugging tale of a gallant gentleman who believes he has nothing to offer the woman he loves.

Quintus Dauntry is but a second son with no independent income and few prospects for the future. Forced by his self-centered father to resign from the Wellingtons Army, he ponders a dreary fate until an urgent message sends him back to the family estate.

It is the ghost, you see. The family haunt has reappeared, demanding repentance for his fathers neglect of his land-owner responsibilities as well as suitable recompense. With the rest of his family ensconced in Brighton to get away from the ghost, Quintus leaps at the opportunity to mend fences with the neighbors and townspeople.

But the minute he spies the new vicars widowed sister, his heart is lost. But what can he offer the spirited widow? No, all he can do is introduce her to his eligible gentleman friends, no matter how much pain the thought of her with another man gives him. Is there really no way for them to follow the dictates of their hearts?

A master of subtle and complex characterization, Ms. Ellis totally wins our hearts with a superb hero. Told completely from the male point of view, this exceptional love story belongs on your most-treasured bookshelf. (Apr., 256 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer