A Regency rising star delivers pure delight for our reading pleasure as a handsome viscount embarks on a most unusual courtship.

Lady Horatia Hilton, Tia to her friends, is known far and wide for her Valentine's Ball as well as her incessant matchmaking. Determined to find her Cousin Robert just the right wife, she has finally come up with the perfect choice. Unfortunately, her protge seems far more interested in Robert's best friend.

But all such frivolity must be put aside when Tia receives a valentine in ominous black. Someone is tired of Tia's meddling, and the only way the lady will ever feel safe is to find out who is so resentful. And Robert is not about to let the headstrong miss set out on her own, not with the Black Masks on the loose. They may be a bumbling band of idiots, but dangerous nonetheless.

Although there are numerous plot difficulties, including a total disregard for chaperonage, the romance is ultimately irresistible, and the climactic struggle between loyalists and radicals is truly one of the great scenes in Regency fiction. Enjoy, enjoy! (Feb., 320 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer