cover image VERY TRULY YOURS


Julie Beard, VERY TRULY YOURS Julie Beard<. , $6.99 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-515-13039-3

Beard's latest (My Fair Lord) will hold few surprises for readers as it systematically trudges through the familiar formula of rake meets beautiful virgin and discovers true love. Notorious Jack Fairchild, soon to be Lord Tutley, and Liza Cranshaw initially met at a London soiree and shared a kiss that opened new horizons for Liza. Eight years later, Jack appears in her small country village of Middledale, throwing her future into disarray when he accidentally intercepts a letter written by Liza revealing her plans to marry the loathsome Lord Barrington. As Jack probes further, he learns that Barrington has blackmailed Liza in order to get his hands on her dowry, and Jack vows to do his best to keep the two from walking down the aisle. Harding, Jack's secretary, provides a few much-needed laughs, but the romance between Jack and Liza is less than compelling. The emphasis on Jack's "masculine beauty" and Liza's "evocative combination of worldliness and innocence" will tip off readers that though their looks may be extraordinary, their characters suffer from a predictability that bleaches away the kind of man-woman tension that makes for a good romance. Beard turns the occasional lyrical phrase, but readers seeking delightful originality should pass on this paint-by-numbers romance. (Apr. 3)