A rising superstar diverts us with an innovative time-travel romance in which an aspiring romance writer holds the key to removing the curse on an aristocratic English family.

How in the world had Cherylynn Cardington ended up as the Marchioness of Broadbanks? Sure, she bid on the title as a lark during a visit to Christie's, but she never expected that 10 pounds would be enough to buy anything at all. With one phone call from the famous auction house, however, she becomes a peer of the realm.

On an impulsive visit to the family estate, now belonging to the National Trust, Cherylynn learns that an old gypsy curse has brought all title holders since 1812 to a sticky end with no direct heir. A ghostly blow on the head takes her back in time to find out just what happened and why.

Before she can solve the mystery surrounding Andrew Villiers, Sixth Marquess of Broadbank, she must first survive medicine as it is practiced in the early 18th century. Even if she recovers from the head injury, exactly how can she prevent Broadbanks from making a fatefully wrong decision?

Ms. Lane develops her intriguing premise with dash and verve, and keeps us turning the pages as fast as possible. (May, 224 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer