Avon, May 2003, 6.99, 384 pp.
In 1816, Irishman Ian Campion uses his fists to earn money to support his two widowed sisters, two nephews, and niece. When Dunmore “Pirate” Harrell offers him an opportunity to make a fortune, he is interested, as Ian knows he can move his family to a safer locale than the London slums they currently reside in. Pirate has made a fortune in business and has married a duke's widow, but is willing to spend a large sum to bring safely home his missing daughter Lyssa. Pirate thinks someone kidnapped Lyssa, but Ian believes she ran away from home to elude her snobbish fiancé Viscount Grossett.
After a few days on the trail, Ian catches up with Lyssa, being escorted by a group masquerading as Gypsies. However, before he can return with her, thugs try to kill her. Ian escorts Lyssa to her deceased mother's Scottish family while struggling to keep her safe. They fall in love, but Ian feels he is not good enough for the heiress, who must persuade her rescuer that he is that and more to her.
This Regency romance stars two delightful lead characters that the audience will enjoy watching fuss, fight, and their efforts to stay alive. Though the reason for the assault seems strange (perhaps this reviewer is too baby boomer middle class to comprehend), the story line is fun to follow anyway because Cathy Maxwell always provides a fun tale good to the last word. Sub-genre readers will appreciate this fine historical It Happened One Night romantic suspense.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner