A meandering plot, clichéd dialogue and an inattention to historical detail mar Miller's (My Phillipe) ham-handed, Regency-era romance. Strong-willed Amy Conde manages a stud farm without the help of her neglectful guardian, Trent Severn, whom she hasn't seen in 15 years. When Amy turns 25 in three months, she will finally be rid of Trent. Unfortunately, she needs to buy a new stallion, and Trent has refused her request for funds once again. When Trent stops at the farm one night, too drunk to make his destination, Amy seizes the opportunity to renew her petition. Surprised to discover that his agent, Fenwick, has been stealing from them both, Trent vows to make amends by firing Fenwick, buying Amy new clothes and presenting her to London's elite so that she may secure a suitable husband. Instead, Trent falls in love with the fiery-haired termagant himself, and he is mortified when his best friend makes an offer for her hand. Although Trent and Amy are well-suited for each other, Amy spends more time psychoanalyzing Trent than matching wits with him. A subplot involving shady characters who are trying to get their hands on Amy's money adds more confusion to the mix and will lead readers to believe that 19th-century women often disguised themselves in men's clothing and cavorted about the countryside with wounded rogues. (Aug. 14)
Forecast:With its far-fetched plot, fitful pacing and generic cover, this book will suffer a short shelf life.
Release date: 07/01/2001