Leisure, Jan 2003, 5.99, 308 pp.
In 1819, Crown Prince of Santadorra Nicholas St. Germain works as a gardener as payment of a bet he lost to his friend Lord Crispin Wellstone. Nick curses his canine companion Wellington for costing him the wager of not performing a heroic deed for twenty-four hours as he had to rescue the dog. When Wellington takes a leak on his shoes, an irate Nick gives chase. However, instead of catching his canine enemy, Nick runs face first into a door being opened by a maid. However, Lucinda Charming is not a servant as she is the daughter of the late Duke of Nottingham and stepdaughter to a nasty social climber.
Lucy does not want Nick's involvement in her troubles, but he cannot help but intercede when two thugs accost her. Crispin sees the whole thing from his hiding place and realizes that neither aristocrat knows that the other is also part of the nobility. Unable to resist matchmaking, Crispin decides the hero and lady needing rescue are perfect for his machinations.
This adult Regency version of Cinderella is an amusing historical due to the antics of the cast including a precocious pug. The humorous plot employs an undertone of serious issues debated between Lucy (women's suffrage) and Nick (the Locke monarchy contract). Beth Petrillo debuts with a wild, wacky, witty winner that hopefully will have a follow-up perhaps in 1850 Santadorra where women vote and the son of the this lead couple is a thirtyish prince.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner