cover image Lady Be Reckless

Lady Be Reckless

Megan Frampton. Avon, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-266664-2

Frampton’s second Victorian-era Duke’s Daughters novel (after Lady Be Bad) sparkles with wit. It begins with a Gone with the Wind reference: Lady Olivia proposes to Lord Carson in a private room during a ball and he gently declines. She heaves a bit of bric-a-brac while he leaves, at which time Edward Wolcott, Carson’s friend and the illegitimate son of a financier, pops up from behind the couch. Frampton takes her leave from Mitchell here: Wolcott is remarkably kind during their introduction. Olivia decides to make a project of getting him accepted in high society, to prove her wifely bona fides to Lord Carson. Her plan goes awry in the best way, and they fall in love instead. The author elevates a standard plot with crisp writing, witty secondaries, and unpredictability. Olivia’s effervescence attracts Wolcott before her beauty does, and Frampton plays with the do-gooder trope in ways that recall Jane Austen’s Emma. Leads who genuinely enjoy each other’s company and the obligatory love scene in a storm-battered shed will delight fans of historical romances. Agent: Louise Fury, Bent Agency. (Mar.)