Avon, Jan 2004, 5.99, 384 pp.
In 1821 Viscount Spencer Law accompanied his brother Nat to Philadelphia where he meets attractive Abigail Mercer and her ailing father, owner of Mercer Medicinal Company. Nat wants to own half of Mercer Medicinal, but Spencer has some doubts yet promises to fund the venture. However, the Home office calls Spencer back to England so he leaves Nat behind in the states.
A year later, Spencer waits for the arrival of Nat, who is late to his own engagement party to lady Evelina. However, instead of Nat's grand entrance, Abigail, in mourning due to her beloved father's death enters claiming to be Spencer's wife by proxy. Apparently, Nat forged documents, stole Abigail's dowry, and sat in for Spencer at a ceremony. Spencer, who had no plans to marry due to a war injury leaving him unable to produce children, sells Abigail with the idea of a marriage of convenience until they find his wastrel brother who is in hiding.
Before readers draw negative conclusions about Nat, he paid for Abigail to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Thus he is much more complex than just the first brush con artist that he seems. Spencer is an intriguing lead protagonist firmly believing he has no future and that the heir must come from Nat. Abigail is a charmer who makes Spencer feels whole. Regency romance fans will have good feelings towards author Sabrina Jeffries for this enjoyable historical.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner