cover image My Dearest Enemy

My Dearest Enemy

Connie Brockway. Dell Publishing Company, $7.5 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-440-22375-7

Brockway's respect for her audience is apparent in her latest Victorian. The rare story introduces social issues without preaching, characters who are well developed, and enough passion, humor and pathos to satisfy most readers. In Horatio Thorne's will, suffragette Lily Bede is named manager of Mill House for five years. If the estate succeeds, it will be hers. If it fails, it will revert to Horatio's only adult male relation, Avery Thorne, whom Horatio considers a sickly wastrel. But with his legacy on hold for five years, Avery becomes an explorer, corresponding with his ""dearest enemy"" as Lily sends him his stipend. These epistolary lifelines are the beginning of a most unusual courtship that continues when Avery returns, not as a wastrel but as a handsome, witty and honorable man. The question is, can Avery convince skeptical Lily to trust and love him? Although completely different in tone from her broodingly intense All Through the Night, this is another romance for grown-ups. (Aug.)