Cousin Susannah

Hazel Hucker, Author
Hazel Hucker, Author St. Martin's Press $23.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-13950-6
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This historical romance, graced with winsome characters and a delightful plot, that marks the American debut of Hucker, author in England of two earlier novels. It's 1794 when Susannah Trotter, 16, loses her virginity during a chance encounter with local Hampshire scion James Manningford. Weeks later, knowing she is pregnant, Susannah seduces curate Sedley Stacey, and persuades him that the child is his. When Susannah alerts James that he is the real father, he decides to help the young woman and their child in every way, easing her and Sedley's acceptance into local society. As time passes, Susannah and James come to love one another and commence an affair. Sedley's jealousy wedges them apart, however, as do politically charged tensions over the use of James's land. Will the lovers ever find happiness in each other's arms? Through an unexpected death and other twists of fate, the author keeps the reader guessing. Expertly paced, enriched with bright local coloring, this memorable yarn should win Hucker a loyal stateside readership. (Feb.)
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