cover image Secrets of a Proper Lady

Secrets of a Proper Lady

Victoria Alexander, . . Avon, $7.99 (375pp) ISBN 978-0-06-088264-8

Lady Cordelia Bannister, Lord Marsham's youngest daughter, is a self-assured Victorian woman who writes articles about her extensive travels for ladies' magazines. Still single at 25, even Cordelia admits that too much independence isn't a good thing, but when her father engages Cordelia to a wealthy American, Daniel Sinclair, a man she's never met, Cordelia is furious. Determined to do what is best for her family, Cordelia sets out with her cousin to learn more about Daniel. When she comes upon a man in the park claiming to be Daniel's secretary, she assumes a false name to gather information, not realizing he's actually Daniel. Cordelia quickly finds herself falling for the handsome American, and he with her. Mistaken identities securely in place, Alexander has a fine time orchestrating the sparkling battle of wits between them. The leads make a superb match, bringing to mind classic sparring partners like Katharina and Petruchio or Bogie and Bacall; readers will be too amused by them to care that the supporting characters are a bit stunted. While there is no serious tension, Alexander knows what her romance readers want—charming characters, sharp banter, missed connections and a happy ending—and delivers with gusto. (Oct.)