Leisure, Nov 2003, 5.99, 338 pp.
In 1813 England, Christopher “Kit” Woodward sees his fiancée Serena Langley for the first time when some buck stares up her skirt while she is on a ladder seeking a book. When she tumbles off the ladder, Kit keeps her from being hurt. However, instead of introducing himself as her future husband just back from India, he says he is Alfred Gibson seeking the coachman's position. Kit knows he needs to wed Serena as his father's will insist on it if he is to inherit, but she has refused, blaming him like everyone else does for the assault on her deaf aunt that sent him on a nine year exile. He needs time to convince Serena that he did not cause the incident.
Though a servant, Kit and Serena fall in love. However, he wonders if she cherishes him or Alfred. Either way he must persuade his beloved that he did not attack her aunt, and that Alfred the Coachman and Kit the Duke are the same person willing to cherish Serena forever.
Regency romance fans will prize this rousing tale. The story line is fun to follow due to the cast making the tale worth reading. Kit is a strong protagonist needing to right a wrong complicated by love. Serena, though why she fails to see that Alfred is more than just a coachman (for instance why was he in the library in the first place), is a fine individual who knows she should not love a commoner yet cannot stop loving her coachman. Having felt the thrill of a powerful debut, readers will linger afterward wondering what will be next from a charming new author.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner