St. Martin's, Nov 2003, 6.99, 352 pp.
As reported by the London Tattler, Viscount James Linford has returned home from spending two years abroad in India, his second trip overseas. Not long afterward, the paper announces that James is engaged to Lady Catherine Winfield. However as also accounted he has two children out of wedlock living with him. His betrothal ends and he hides in the country to escape the turmoil more than the scandal.
His oldest child ten year old Clarissa is a foul mouthed hooligan. Neighbor Phoebe Churchill catches Clarissa stealing from her. She takes the child to task and soon they become friendly. As James is amazed with the way Phoebe “handles” Clarissa, he falls in love with his neighbor. He wants her as his wife and mother to his three children (the third he has not brought home yet), help her raise her niece deserted by her mother, and perhaps have more children with her.
This is a refreshing Regency romance that will shake sub-genre fans not ready for a preadolescent with a vocabulary that would make a sailor blush. James is an intriguing protagonist as he faces up to his responsibilities though that costs him his fiancée and a sure seat on the Council of Foreign Affairs. Phoebe is a practical individual trying to do the right thing as she nurtures life's abandoned ones.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner