There's no finer way for a Regency reader to pass the time than savoring a new book from the always superb Sara Blayne.

Lady Lucy Powell is determined that only a great love will inspire her to take the great risk of matrimony. And, since she does not consider herself a great beauty and is further cursed with a practical temperament, she is quite convinced that love will pass her by and she will find her happiness in writing gothic novels. So her refusal sight unseen of a proposed match with her godmother's nephew, the Duke of Lathrop, is only to be expected.

What is not expected is her instant attraction to the duke's agent, Phillip Carmichael, who arrives to put his employer's neighboring estate in order. From their very first encounter in the duke's moldy old castle, they prove to be kindred spirits. Here is a man who is clearly her soulmate. Why does he continually press her to consider the duke's suit?

A passionate romance, filled with tender perception and exquisitely textured joy, this delight will warm your heart in unforgettable style. (Dec., 256 pp., $4.50)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer