by Barbara Hazard

May 2001
ISBN: 0-451-20265-1
Reviewer Graphic Button Signet Books
Mass Market Paperback

As a sequel (to A Wary Widow) this book follows Lili Martingale's first foray into Society - sponsored Alastair and Cornelia Russell (the hero and heroine of A Wary Widow).

Lili has grown up into a young woman of decided ideas - however I find her rather irritating in that there seems to be no consistency in her behavior - she goes from recklessness to rather over-the-top piety within the same page. Unfortunately, because of this I found it hard to like her.

The Hero - Viscount Halpern - is a little different than most romantic heroes. He is nobly born - however both his parents are still very much alive and he has not yet come into his "inheritance". He is far more likeable than Lili - and has a lot more strength of character.

Lili's debut seems to be ill thought out, and it would seem that (unusually for the ton) her antecedents are unknown and this gives rise to speculation that threatens to destroy the reputations of both Lili and Cornelia.

The romance is there in buckets, however. What with the young gentlemen pursuing Lili - and her attraction to Halpern (and his to her) - and the continual romance between Alastair and Cornelia Russell, there is enough romance to satisfy all romance lovers.

Despite twists, turns and the inevitable problems that arise between hero, heroine, and families, the ending of this book is deeply satisfying and makes up for all the shortcomings elsewhere.

Her minor characters are wonderfully drawn (Mrs. Alva Potter is a real gem - and a firm favorite of all characters I have ever run across in books), and it is these good characterizations that make the inconsistencies in Lili disappointing.

I have to admit that I did not enjoy this book as much as I have enjoyed others by Barbara Hazard - it seemed a little hollow and lacking in that spark that her other books enjoy. However, if you want to find out "what happened next" between Alastair and Cornelia - then you will want to read this book.

Reviewed in August 2001 by Megan.

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