Avon, Feb 2003, 5.99, 384 pp.
In 1819 Earl Julian Rexley learns his sister Letitia is at the home of Lady Sophia Morelle, a woman he hates. Seven years ago he believed that she lured him into her bed to compromise him into marriage because she wanted his money. He refused to wed her and the scandal was disastrous. Sophia married someone else a month later, but has since been widowed. Not long after that he wrote a poem to Sophia that launched his career as a leading poet.
Sophia knows Julian still hates her like she once did him, but she now only feels he betrayed her. Julian arrives insisting that Letitia leave with him, but she refuses. Letitia insists she will only go with him to London if Sophia comes too. Julian invites Sophia, but she declines until her odious brother-in-law forces himself on her. As Julian realizes she was frightened of Charles and was not his lover as he previously thought, he wonders what else he misinterpreted seven years ago in light of her living in near poverty. His musings lead to his concluding that he still loves her. Sophia never stopped loving him.
Though a by the book Regency tale, the story line is fun to follow due to the lead characters, who are the epitome of a love hate relationship. The secondary characters, especially Charles and Letitia, help propel the plot forward by their impact on the relationship between the main duo. Fans of a delightful 200 proof Regency will want to read Kathryn Smith's latest tale.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner