Christina Kingston, Author . Jove $6.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-515-13510-7

The newest entry in Kingston's Regency-era Lucky Seven series (Ride the Winter Wind, etc.) is not her strongest, but it has its poignant moments. After the death of her abusive husband, Diana Huntley vows never to marry again, but her father is equally determined to see her settled with a new lord. Diana runs away, intending to take shelter with her godmother in London, but when her plans go awry, she's forced to depend on a common seaman named David. Diana fails to realize that David is actually the portly duke who protected her from her late husband and his friends five years earlier. Newly returned from a year in captivity on the Barbary coast, David is now leaner and more hardened, but he chooses not to reveal his identity in the hopes that she'll fall for him, rather than his title. The book hinges on this decision, which feels contrived given Diana's fondness for him when they first met. A nonsensical magical subplot adds little to their burgeoning romance, and Kingston's characterization of Diana is inconsistent (she supposedly learned self-defense so that she wouldn't be at the mercy of any man, but she depends on David for most of the book). Still, the attraction between the protagonists feels genuine and David is a likable (if conventional) hero. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/10/2003
Release date: 03/01/2003
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