cover image The Secrets of the Heart: The Secrets of the Heart

The Secrets of the Heart: The Secrets of the Heart

Kasey Michaels. Pocket Books, $5.99 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-671-79341-8

Now here's a Regency romp with a writing style, voice and sense of humor perfectly suited to the era and the genre. Michaels (Illusions of Love) has created a deliciously different hero in foppish Lord Christian St. Clair, alias The Peacock, defender of the downtrodden. The dual personality ploy sounds familiar, but Michaels puts a new spin on it by having St. Clair keep to his foppish persona for most of the book, resulting in one of the most engaging heroes in a long while. His heroine, Gabrielle Laurence, is just as fully drawn. Nearly penniless, Gabby fishes the waters of the London season, hoping to hook herself a wealthy husband. Unexpectedly, St. Clair, favorite of the ton, takes her under his wing, thereby making her the darling of the social scene. The problems ensue when everyone who is anyone attempts to uncover The Peacock's true identity. Michaels dispenses with distracting love scenes and heroic derring-do in favor of fine writing and delivers what promises to be one of the best-loved books of the year. It's refreshing to find a humorous romance that stretches the accepted boundaries of the genre--here's hoping Michaels starts a new trend. (Feb.)