cover image MY LADY'S TRUST


Julia Justiss, Author . Harlequin $4.99 (297p) ISBN 978-0-373-

Jane Austen–like in its assured, subtle pacing and keen awareness of the barriers between the social classes, this absorbing romance is a testament to Justiss's increasing skill. Though Justiss (The Proper Wife) pulls several stock ingredients from the Regency pantry—the nobleman who secretly assists the government, the gently bred lady who conceals her beauty, the dreadful secret from the past that haunts them—she allows emotional urgency, not flashy and unlikely drama, to propel the reader toward the story's climax. Drawn out of London to the countryside by news of a hunting accident, Beau Bradsleigh, Earl of Beaulieu, discovers Mrs. Laura Martin, a withdrawn young "widow" with a mysterious past, tending to his brother's wounds. Beau's initial interest in the puzzle of her past quickly turns into fascination with Laura herself. She reciprocates his feelings but conceals the truth from him for fear that her abusive husband, from whom she's been hiding and who travels in Beau's social circles, will find her if she becomes Beau's mistress. While convincingly outlining Laura's dread of her husband, Justiss deftly depicts Beau and Laura's blossoming romance. With this exceptional Regency-era romance, Justiss adds another fine feather to her writing cap. (Jan.)