One of the stalwarts of the Regency genre delights us with a sprightly comedy of manners sure to please the most demanding of fans.

Miss Harriet Mayne needs help. She has only a short amount of time to find a husband before her indifferent father marries her off to an old coot. Of course her parents have offered her an alternative-she can become the companion of a crotchety old aunt she has never met. The only way she can escape both proposed fates is to find her own husband. But how can she, a plain miss with carroty red hair and a simply ghastly set of freckles, attract any kind of eligible beau?

A chance encounter in the park with the handsome, self-assured rake Ferdinand Andrews provides just the opportunity she needs. Becoming the protege of the dashing gentleman and his two sisters, Harriet finds herself moving in the highest circles of the ton. But can she win the heart of the one man who makes her heart beat faster?

A superlative craftsman, Ms. Hendrickson makes us feel right at home in the Regency time frame as she touches our hearts with a winsome heroine and a delicious hero. (Apr., 224 pp., $5.50)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer