The superb talent of Monique Ellis is on prominent display in her newest romantic adventure.

The Marquess of Stovall is bored. With both his father and sister recently embarked into the state of matrimony, the red-headed giant finds himself at loose ends and impulsively decides to pay a visit to a childhood chum.

But upon his arrival, he is set upon by a trio of determined young kidnappers, who hustle him off to an abandoned cottage and earnestly beg his assistance to save a gallant young woman from a fate worse than death-a marriage of convenience with their odious cousin. His fancy tickled by the prospect of his very own adventure, the marquess agrees to investigate the matter and dons the persona of Peter Oakwood, a wandering jack-of-all-trades.

Miss Phoebe Parmenter is truly in a desperate predicament. Forced to marry by the terms of her late father's will, only a miracle can save her from the blackmailing clutches of scoundrel Philip Fordyce. Little does she know that the miracle has just arrived in the form of Peter Oakwood, who finds his own heart's delight in the process.

Once again, Ms. Ellis weaves pure storytelling magic, concocting a delicious brew of romance, mystery and a diverting eye for the ridiculous. (Dec., 320 pp., $4.50)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer