cover image Leonie


Elizabeth Adler. Villard Books, $18.95 (479pp) ISBN 978-0-394-54700-8

Leonie, who is only 16 in 1890, has left the provinces to seek her fortune in Paris. She is without fortune, family or friends but she has something to make her madly successful: she has tawn. Her eyes are tawny and so is her hair and her cat, Bebe, and so is her first lover, Rupert, who promises to marry her after he sees his parents in Germany. But alas, he never returns because the lovers' letters have been intercepted by Gilles de Courmont, who wants Leonie for himself. Nothing if not practical, Leonie casts her lot with Gilles whom she continues to address as ""Monsieur,'' as if he were a rock-star instead of a Duc. Monsieur gives her Cartier jewels, Worth dresses, dinners at Voisins and a very hard time, for although he does nobly under the covers, he also has the heart of an undercover man. Monsieur is forevery spying on Leoniedispatching her other lovers with bribes and blowseven murdering one who has just given her another bebe. Finally provoked, Leonie leaves the Duc, becomes a famous chanteuse and finds true love with James Homer Alexander Jamieson iii, but Monsieur continues to haunt her life. Though studded with anachronisms and unconvincing coincidences, Adler's first novel should endear itself to those who like flossy romanances spiced with plenty of sex. November 1