cover image Dear Stranger

Dear Stranger

Stella Cameron. Grand Central Publishing, $6.5 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-446-60429-1

This new title proves to be an uneven effort from popular historical romance author Cameron (Beloved). Dull dialogue and forced humor don't advance a sluggish plot--involving a hidden treasure--which comes to life only in the last few chapters. The real mystery is how the drab, tart-tongued spinster Lily Adler can attract the handsome American Oliver Worth, who arrives at Blackmoor Hall in Come Piddle (groan!) as her professor father's secretary. Add the usual Cameron mix of village idiots (the Bumwallop women, overbearing aunt Mrs. Fribble, odd butler McLewd, aging roue Lord Laycock, a sinister villain (whose identity's truly a surprise), and its mostly tedious fare. For die-hard Cameron fans. (June)