BEAUTY IN BLACK

Nicole Byrd, Author . Berkley Sensation $6.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-425-19683-0

The social whirl of Britain's Regency era springs to vivid life in a story that revolves around not one but two beings in black: the titular Beauty, widow Marianne Hughes, and the "Beast of Gillingham," John Sinclair. In need of a wife, the reclusive Marquess of Gillingham, who wears drab attire to draw attention away from his smallpox-scarred face, reluctantly tries to negotiate London's marriage mart. Equally reluctantly, Marianne agrees to chaperon her impetuous niece-in-law Louisa, who immediately targets John. But Louisa seems to be targeted by someone seeking something more sinister than marriage—her life. John, meanwhile, realizes he's less drawn to his new fiancée than to her guardian. Further complications arise when John comes into contact with his estranged brother Gabriel, Gabriel's wife Psyche and her perceptive younger sister Circe, auld acquaintances from Byrd's two previous books, Dear Imposter and Lady in Waiting . This charming, character-driven novel links Byrd's Sinclair series and her newer Merry Widow series, but readers new to Byrd (who's actually the mother/daughter team Cheryl Zach and Michelle Nicole Place) should have no trouble untangling the family relationships. Despite its complexity, the story's disparate plot elements mesh seamlessly. Agent, Damaris Rowland . (June)

Reviewed on: 05/10/2004
Release date: 06/01/2004
Genre: Fiction
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 336 pages - 978-0-7865-5626-7
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-7865-5625-0
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