In a very short period of time, the name of Karen Harbaugh has come to stand for excellence and innovation in romantic fiction. Writing with delicate precision and keen perception, she explores the human heart with touching sensitivity.

Among the notoriously wild Wentworth family, second son Parsifal is a distinct anomaly. Gentle of spirit and calm of manner, he far prefers the cultivation of his garden to life in the social whirl. But when he yields to his sister's wheedling to escort her to a neighbor's masquerade party and dons the dashing cavalier outfit of a famous ancestor, he is seized by reckless abandon.

The beautiful Miss Annabelle Smith finds herself in great need of such a dashing cavalier as she struggles to repel the odious advances of a desperate fortune hunter. But as gallant as the masked gentleman is who knocks the villain to the ground, it is the gentle Parsifal who wins her heart as the weeks pass by.

Someone, however, is willing to stoop to violence to keep them apart.

Ms. Harbaugh's vivid characters are as intriguing as they are appealing, and an almost magical ambiance provides a glowing intensity romance readers will treasure greatly. (Oct., 224 pp., $5.50)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer