cover image The Courtship

The Courtship

Catherine Coulter. Jove Books, $7.99 (341pp) ISBN 978-0-515-12721-8

Set in Regency England (though not a Regency romance), Coulter's latest historical novel describes, with delectable humor and sexuality, the romance between the beautiful Lady Helen and the Spenser Heatherington, Lord Beecham. A libertine, Spenser has vowed that he won't marry and produce an heir until just before he's ready to meet his maker. But his resolve wavers when he meets Helen, an inn-keeper who enchants every man she meets. At first, Helen would rather have Spenser as her partner than her lover, but she soon changes her mind. Helen's powerful discipline not only engenders great enjoyment for her and Lord Beecham in the bedroom, but in less steamy situations provides levity for the reader. In addition, a mystery subplot--concerning what might have happened to Aladdin's Lamp had the Knights Templar brought it back to England during the realm of Edward I--is intermixed with the love story. The novel reintroduces several beloved characters from Coulter's The Sherbrooke Bride and The Hellion Bride, who add to the droll good times. Coulter's romances may sometimes miss the mark, but she's in top form here, with a good-guy hero in pursuit of a worthy heroine. Readers will wish them years of delightful torment, silk cravats and all. (Jan.)