Barbara Metzger, Author . Signet $4.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-451-20586-5

A doyen of humorous, Regency-era romance writing, Metzger pens in the witty tradition of historical romance authors Marion Devon and Marion Chesney. Deeper and darker than her previous books (The Painted Lady; Primrose Path), this is an unforgettable tale of young lives sadly lost and great debts honorably repaid. When George Croft dies saving the life of Maj. Tyverne St. Ives, Ty vows to repay the deed by making George's shunned, stalwart sister, Delia, an honest woman before she gives birth to an out-of-wedlock child. The gruff, handsome soldier is not a lady's man, however, and his talk of honor and duty fails to impress Dilly, who demands nothing less than a marriage built on love. Various eccentric Croft and St. Ives kin—such as Dilly's puffed-up guardian, Ty's brash younger brother and their heavy-handed father—drift in and out of the narrative, further complicating his efforts to woo Dilly. Metzger's gift for recreating the flavor and ambiance of the period shines here, and the antics of her dirty-dish villains, near-villains and starry-eyed lovers are certain to entertain. Add to the mix Metzger's trademark animals—-here a murderous circus horse aptly dubbed Diablo and a feisty pup named Angelina—and the resulting story is Regency romance at its finest and funniest. (May 2)

Reviewed on: 03/25/2002
Release date: 05/01/2002
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