Berkley, Dec 2003, 5.99, 352 pp.
In 1811, widow Lady May Hayworth loves her commoner paramour Robert Carsons though he keeps secrets about his past, especially his family, from her. When her beloved scoundrel of a brother dies during a duel, May feels somewhat alone because he was the only person who shared her blood until she finds a journal that her rapscallion sibling kept about his women and the children he sired. May pledges to use her vast fortune to help her illegitimate nieces and nephews.
She decides to sponsor niece Michaela Standish and her two siblings, but quickly realizes that her relative's mom treats her with scorn, perhaps lingering guilt for sleeping with her rascal brother. When Michaela meets Waterloo war hero Major Adrian Khoury sparks fly, but he chooses to ignore his feelings because he seeks a quiet supporting wife to further his political ambitions while Michaela breaks all the rules of the Ton. Still he considers a marriage of convenience that will conveniently let him share a bed with the beauty who has captured his heart.
The cause of all these offspring is treated with an affectionate wink that he does not deserve due to his irresponsibility causing havoc on so many lives. Still fans will appreciate this Regency romance that focuses on a strong cast that includes the vulnerable Michaela, her deceased biological father, her disdainful mother, her envious sisters, her interfering matchmaking aunt, and her “not in love” war hero. Sub-genre readers will enjoy following the antics of this crew and look forward to May's next endeavor in Hyde Park.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner