cover image Prince of Ravenscar: A Sherbrooke Novel

Prince of Ravenscar: A Sherbrooke Novel

Catherine Coulter. Putnam, $19.95 (416p) ISBN 9780399158070

Coulter's latest, set in 1831 England, offers an appealing blend of romance and mystery. Handsome lord and part-time smuggler Julian returns home after three years spent abroad trying to escape the tragedy of his wife's mysterious death. As he re-enters London society, his mother wants him to marry the gorgeous young Sophie, but Julian has no intention of falling in love again. Along with his nephew Lord Devlin, a self-styled vampire, Julian meets Sophie and her witty, independent aunt Roxanne, and the four soon grow intimate as they travel from London to Julian's ancestral home, Ravenscar. However, the past refuses to stay past: Richard Langworth, the brother of Julian's former wife, blames Julian for his sister's death and plots unspeakable revenge. Meanwhile, Julian uncovers a startling family history and learns the truth about his father, and the elusive origins of his title%E2%80%94the Prince of Ravenscar. While her trademark wit veers rather tastelessly towards double-entendre and much of the dialogue sounds artificially stilted, Coulter (The Sherbrooke Bride) generates laughs as well as chills, as she shifts between depicting the passion of love and the consequences of hate. (Sept.)