The delightfully different Teresa DesJardien offers us a pleasing tale of an American patriot who discovers himself to be the heir to an English barony.

Fane Westby is understandably unsure of his reception when he arrives at his dying father's rural estate in England. After all, he has been raised as an American, never knowing his true name or background. Not only that, a precipitous departure from a British ship of the line after suffering impressment has labeled him a deserter according to English law.

Within just a few days, his father is laid to rest, and the new Lord Galbreth finds himself on the horns of a dilemma. How should he deal with his father's longtime mistress, an eccentric lady who lives in the dower house with her beautiful niece?

In her own way, Miss Marietta Hampton is as independent-minded as her aunt. Banished by her father for her rather unique way of rejecting a suitor, she is fully aware of the delicate nature of their continued residence on this very eligible bachelor's estate.

Can they strike a bargain that will not cause the very scandal they are trying to avoid? And what if the past catches up with either of them?

A talented writer of considerable uniqueness, Ms. DesJardien delivers an exciting love story full of intriguing twists and turns for our reading pleasure. (July, 255 pp., $4.95)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer