A delightful new talent of considerable note debuts with an elegantly crafted Regency romance to warm the cockles of your heart.

Clarissa Harcourt, dowager Duchess of Belfort, needs a place to hide. Temporarily at the mercy of her late husband's dishonorable heir, she is increasingly disturbed by his determination to set her up as his mistress. If only she can disappear until the date her inheritance is free and clear of his control.

Deep in the Yorkshire countryside, Sir Jeremy Sutcliffe lives in contented isolation raising his young daughter and pursuing his scholarly bent. He does not take kindly at all to his lovely new neighbor, who dares to chastise him the day she meets him for allowing his little girl to get lost.

Still, there's something very appealing about this spirited beauty, and her genuine concern over his daughter is quite admirable. She even agrees to help school the child while he hunts for another governess.

But it is his own heart that troubles him the most. Has he finally found a woman he can trust? Or does she, too, hide secrets that may ruin their future happiness?

Ms. Lynch is a major discovery in the demanding Regency genre, writing with passion and warmth spiced with wit and intelligence. Put this author's name on your list of future favorites! (July, 263pp., $3.99)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer