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Country girl Ariana Forsythe is sent to a wealthy aunt in London to head off an unsuitable match in this faith-based Regency romance. After being modishly outfitted by said aunt, Ariana is thrust into the London season, with all its attendant social conventions: status distinctions, formal etiquette and gossip, gossip, gossip (the Regency antecedent of dishing). Ariana meets her match in the disdainful paragon of society, Phillip Mornay, who quickly becomes her ally after an unexpected turn of social events threatens her good name. This period romance lacks sufficient romantic tension between the principals. The plotting is also uneven, with some complications (the matter of Ariana's correspondence with her family, for example) not driving the plot forward, instead frittering narrative energy. But the author's command of period detail is impressive, evident in material details but also in dialogue. The theology is also period authentic. The novel even contains a glossary to help non-Regencyphiles get up to speed about the difference between ladies' pelisses and spencers. Despite some technical problems, on the whole it's a tasty confection. (Dec.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.