Berkley, Mar 2004, 6.99, 352 pp.
In 1817 Earl Edward Carsington is tired of paying the bills for his third of five sons and the oldest unmarried one. He demands that Alistair in his late twenties either finds a wealthy wife or earns income through business. Rather than wed, the melancholy war “hero” joins his friend Lord Gordmor in building a canal in Derbyshire.
Some of the local landowners oppose the project so Alistair heads north to persuade them to support the canal endeavor. The opposition leader is spinster Mirabel Oldridge who is a couple of years older than Alistair. As she deftly sabotages his support through her silver tongue, they fall in love. However, he believes the canal is a boom while she believes it is a bust leaving a gap wider than his proposal to keep them apart.
Fans will enjoy this wonderful Regency romance that takes the contemporary issue of environment vs. development back to its roots in early nineteenth century England. The story line is crisp as Mirabel and Alistair debate the merits and demerits of the impact of a canal on the locality even as both fall in love. The secondary cast adds depth to the debate so that the audience receives a terrific historical tale with modern day implications.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner