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Certainly one of the most innovative talents in the Regency genre, Nancy Butler comes up trumps with a memorable new love story, THE RAMSHACKLE SUITOR.

It is time for Miss Lucy Parnall to stand up to her domineering stepbrother. In defiance of his attempts to dictate her future, she comes to the Isle of Man determined to find her missing sister and child. Guilt still haunts her that she was unable to help her sibling before she ran off with a handsome soldier.

Lucys quest gets off to a quirky start when she comes across a handsome cavalier lying in a ditch. Still bosky from revels with his friends, Roddy Kemp-thorne nevertheless both charms and confuses his lovely benefactress into letting him help with her investigation.

Their partnership leads them into many strange byways, including theft, kidnapping, baby-snatching and, perhaps weirdest of all, a bizarre encounter with a ram named Samson. And through it all, Ms. Butler enchants us with the couples delightful banter, outstanding characterization and a rare emotional intensity. (Mar., 216 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer