While following after his vengeful mistress, Elliot Armstrong gets lost in the Essex countryside. A storm drives him to a nearby home where he is mistaken for a man who commissioned a portrait by artist Evangeline van Artsdalde.

The warmth and friendliness of the home, as well as Evangeline's beauty, compel Elliot to lie about his identity and accept their heartfelt welcome. Posing as Mr. Elliot Roberts, he plans to stay for just a while, then leave and never return. But soon the dissolute marquis of Rannoch finds himself enchanted by the van Artsdaldes.

Evangeline is a talented artist, but she paints portraits to support her family. She's shocked by her attraction to Mr. Roberts. How can she feel this way about a client who is supposed to be betrothed?

A Flemish refugee, Evangeline has more to worry about then Mr. Roberts. She fears that a ruthless, aristocratic relative will try and take her younger brother away if anyone tells where she and the children are living. Thus her newfound relationship with Elliot places her family in danger.

Elliot cannot stay away and returns time and again to Essex, which causes his rakish friends to wonder what has happened to the most notorious rogue in England.

While Evangeline and Elliot discover the magic of love, the enemies from the past, her relatives and his old nemesis, threaten to reveal secrets that can destroy them all.

Liz Carlyle's debut novel is a wonderful romance, driven not by action and adventure, but by the powerful characters who will surely steal the reader's heart. Though a slow and thoughtful read, MY FALSE HEART is worth sticking with just to savor the fine quality of the prose and well-crafted characters. Watch this new star rise on the horizon. SENSUAL (Dec., 407 pp., $6.50)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin