Fawcett introduces another striking new talent to bring us the best in Regency reading pleasure.

Diantha Halstow does not believe in love. After all, her parents married for love, and look at the disaster that turned out to be. No, the only sound basis for marriage is mutual respect and convenience. It certainly seems to be working for her and Rexford Lytham, the new Earl of Chartridge. He has her fortune to repair the family estates, and she has independence and security.

Who could ask for more?

Well, actually, she could. The love she swears does not exist seems very much alive between her cousin and her brother-in-law. And then there's her other cousin, a dandy of the ton who falls hook, line and sinker for a quiet vicar's daughter.

But Chartridge is obviously still enamored of his first love, a notorious beauty who returns to lure him away from hearth and home. Now that Diantha finally admits to her feelings, is it too late to win his love?

Ms. Stratton nicely paces and develops this appealing romance, creating vivid and compelling characters readers won't soon forget. (Mar., 232 pp., $4.50)

Reviewed by: 
Melinda Helfer