The exquisite craftsmanship of Evelyn Richardson is once again on display in this soul-satisfying romance of two hearts always meant to be one.

Coming home to his brothers imposing London mansion after five years of gritty life on the Peninsula seems almost like a dream to Lord Christian Hatherleigh. Even more remarkable, however, is the glorious voice raised in song in the music room. Who possesses such a splendid gift?

In another life, Mademoiselle Isobel de Montargis would not be employed as the music instructor to the daughters of an English duke. Herself the daughter of a French aristocrat, she would have been restricted to the life of frivolity without the opportunity to develop into a serious singer. But in England, her voice can be her living, if only the right opportunity comes along.

Wary at first of her pupils rakish uncle, Isobel cannot help but respond to his obvious appreciation of her art. But why is he taking an interest in her career? And why do all other men seem so ordinary?

Each new work a precious gem, Ms. Richardson creates unforgettable characters and a haunting ambiance that makes the subsequent joyous resolution an even greater treasure for readers. (Dec., 221 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer