cover image When Harry Met Molly

When Harry Met Molly

Kieran Kramer, St. Martin's Paperbacks, $7.99 mass market (432p) ISBN 978-0-312-

Kramer's debut Regency manages an impressive recovery from a ludicrous premise. Lady Molly Fairbanks's fiancé ditches her for Lord Harry Traemore's mistress on the eve of the Most Impossible Bachelor competition, so the rakish Harry suggests that bluestocking Molly take his lost lightskirt's place. If she is voted by the other bachelors as the Most Delectable Companion, he wins the competition and gets a year's reprieve from the "shameless pursuit" of the marriage-minded. Molly hesitatingly agrees, but makes Harry promise that if they win, he will find her a handsome, loving husband. Skeptical readers should relax and enjoy the light and frothy ride. At times the humor leans too far toward the zany, and notions of historical accuracy must be set aside, but these concerns fade away as Kramer's engaging writing turns stock characters into a vivid and loving couple. (Nov.)