cover image The Return: The Return

The Return: The Return

Diane Haeger. Pocket Books, $5.5 (432pp) ISBN 978-0-671-86480-4

This historical romance, set in India and England in the mid-1800s, introduces Charlotte Lawrence, the spirited daughter of an English colonel stationed in Delhi, to Captain Edward Langston, an ambitious laborer's son. They marry, but after a few months, a Hindu uprising separates them and each believes the other died during the massacre. Ten years later, Charlotte, who has remained in Delhi working in a hospital, discovers that Edward may be alive and living in England. She sails immediately to find him. Incredibly, the dark glasses she wears and the broken nose she suffered during the uprising leave Edward oblivious to her real identity. Arriving at his home, she finds his new wife, Anne, a child named Charlotte and a second child on the way. Anne has had a difficult pregnancy, so she asks Charlotte, who pretends to be newly widowed and without family, to stay and help until the baby is born. Eventually, Anne learns Charlotte's true identity and conveniently removes herself, leading to a predictable end for Haeger's ( Courtesan ) tale, which suffers from shallow characters and lifeless prose. (Dec.)