DUCHESS BY NIGHT
The third of the Desperate Duchesses stories is a lighthearted, sophisticated yet deeply emotional romp. Harriet, the Duchess of Villiers, dons breeches to try to make it in a man's world, but this traditional plot takes on freshness as James infuses the story with wit and passion.
Strange offers to teach Harry about life, fencing and women. But the more time he spends with Harry, the more perplexed he becomes with his unusual attraction to the "boy." Harriet is drawn to Strange and longs for his touch, but he's all man, so that's impossible unless she lets him uncover the truth. Once Harry become Harriet again, passion erupts, and a deep relationship ensues, but there are obstacles to overcome, fears to push aside and pride to be buried before love can reign. (Avon, Jul., 380 pp., $7.99)