The innovative talent of Carla Kelly is on brilliant display in another masterful novel of Regency life and times.

For twelve long years, Miss Jane Milton has been the only real parent Andrew, the heir to the Earl of Denby, has ever known. It hasnt been exactly easy. First the boys mother dies under tragic circumstances, and then his father wastes away after a dreadful injury suffered at Waterloo. Worse, no one in the family except Jane has tried to quash the rumors about the lads paternity.

Although Jane must suffer the trials of the life of a poor relation, she does have one solace: her friendship with their neighbor, mill owner Scipio Africanus Butterworth. Always there to lend an ear, he is unfailing in his support as she battles a difficult family to provide the best for her charge.

Now, however, the earl is dying, and the rumors surrounding Andrews birth begin to threaten his future. But what is best for Andrew? Can she accept the alternative Mr. Butterworth represents?

Ms. Kelly exquisitely develops an intricate character study, bringing each character to splendid life and developing a touching love story in the process. (Nov., 224 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer