cover image My Darling Melissa

My Darling Melissa

Linda Lael Miller. Pocket Books, $4.5 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-65264-7

Never mind that not a bit of this frippery is believable, nor that the plot machinery creaks with coincidences at every turn--Miller's ( Corbin's Fancy ) latest is unsinkable fun. The author dishes up her favorite fare: plucky women with the strength to reason and the passion to follow their hearts; powerful men who find an independent woman infuriating yet irresistible; countless love sequences that leave plenty to the imagination; and a flavorful, 1890s setting. Miller plays her story broadly, with numerous opportunities for her characters to lose their dignity (but never their good humor). The opening scene, in which disheveled bride Melissa Corbin hightails it away from her groom at the altar and leaps onto a dashing stranger's private railway car, is one of the daffiest in the genre. ( Feb.)