One of the Regency genre's impressive new talents commands our attention with a compelling novel of a young widow in the aftermath of Waterloo.

Amanda Morrison had accepted the consequences when she ran off and married soldier Jack Morrison. She did not expect her father, a haughty marquess, to forgive her, but now that Jack is dead, she can only earn her living as a music teacher with his help. The price, however, is high: she will not be recognized by the family and, above all, do nothing to spoil the pending betrothal of her half-sister to a stuffy duke.

The duke, however, turns out to be the arrogant aristocrat she assisted after a fire at the local inn. Still reeling from the consequences of that night, the duke of Norwood is forced into a complete re-examination of his life. Is Emily the right bride for him, or is it really the gallant Amanda?

Although the angst gets a bit out of control in the end, Ms. Lane creates a mesmerizing momentum that will keep you turning the pages as fast as possible. (Nov., 223 pp., $5.50)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer