cover image Whisper His Name

Whisper His Name

Elizabeth Thornton. Bantam Books, $7.99 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-553-57427-2

Thornton's 11th historical romance, which begins when a doomed spy hides a coded book in the basket of an English visitor to Paris, offers both delights and frustrations. Spinster Abbie Vayle suspects nothing until an evil operative loyal to the exiled Napoleon tracks her back to Bath, England, and demands the book. Soon, Abbie's brother is taken hostage and her own life is in danger. Eager to comply with the demands of her brother's captors, she agrees to return the book--except that it is being held in customs. Does she dare confide in Hugh Templar, the seemingly mild scholar she loves? As Abbie struggles to retrieve the book amid a tightening net of intrigue, Hugh tries to hide the fact that he himself is a former British undercover agent. Thornton (You Only Love Twice) creates appealing characters and cleverly weaves in familiar Regency settings and customs. However, much of the action and romantic developments depend on the hero and heroine's repeatedly withholding information from each other--a device that quickly becomes tiresome to the reader. (Mar.)