In a fitting finale to the Fawcett Regency program, the superlative Barbara Metzger tickles the funnybone and melts the heart in the engaging tale of a handsome rake who becomes an instant father.

It was not the usual sort of souvenir, and certainly not one that was either expected or wanted. Nevertheless, there she was, a tiny baby in a basket left on his doorstep. And the accompanying note left with her leaves no doubt that this is, indeed, his own flesh and blood.

What to do, what to do... Lesley, Lord Heartleigh, will be the first to admit that he knows absolutely nothing about taking care of a baby. In fact, no one in his ramshackle household has the faintest idea either. But next door, that paragon of virtue, the housekeeper Mrs. Hane, has a young daughter and should be able to help if he will but humble himself sufficiently.

To his surprise, there is much more to the widow than her straight-laced manner implies, and soon the viscount finds his life transformed by the new ladies in his life. Is he ready to turn over a new leaf at last?

In another stellar storytelling performance, Ms. Metzger makes us laugh and cry on almost every page. A keeper right from the beginning, this dazzling duel of hearts will add a zingy radiance to your day. (Dec., 201 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer