One of the leading lights of the Regency genre is in rare form in a captivating new romance set in the drawing rooms of London.

Miss Frederica Kendal first meets Lord Thorpe in the country, where the returned war hero is an object of curiosity to his neighbors and the target of matchmaking mamas. Even Freddie has hopes of catching his eye, but a scandalous encounter soon puts an end to any possibility of a relationship between them.

Rushed off to London by a grandmother determined to find her a husband, Freddie makes her debut under the auspices of an old family friend. But even here she cannot avoid Lord Thorpe, who takes it upon himself to make sure she finds the proper suitor. But why do none of them seem right for this high-spirited innocent?

Ms. Devon makes us chuckle with delight as her appealing lovers cope with one absurdity after another and win our hearts in the process. (Dec., 202 pp., $4.50)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer