Damsel in Disguise

Susan Gee Heino, Author
Susan Gee Heino, Berkley Sensation, $7.99 (344p) ISBN 978-0-425-23598-0
Reviewed on: 06/28/2010
Release date: 08/01/2010
Heino (Mistress by Mistake) builds this playfully melodramatic and unquestionably giggleworthy Regency romance out of disguises, secrets, and complicated relationships. Actress Julia St. Clement was involved with Lord Anthony Rastmoor until he gambled her away to his odious cousin Cedric Fitzgelder. Furious and desperate, Julia disguised herself as a man and fled. While traveling with an ersatz wife some years later, Julia learns that Cedric plans to murder Anthony. When she finds her old lover and tries to warn him, he recognizes the pretty face under the fake mustache. Julia and Anthony renew a passionate but distrustful romance while she poses publicly as his male traveling companion and they unravel the secrets surrounding Anthony's family and associates. The hilariously over-the-top, twist-after-twist storytelling is reminiscent of Gilbert & Sullivan, and Heino easily capitalizes on the endless comic potential of gender and mistaken identity. (Aug.)