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Though set in 1818 London, Kent's debut lacks any real period feel, but it does include a refreshing romantic dynamic: honesty. Violet, Lady Carrington, is a thrice-widowed beauty of 31 who values her freedom as well as her sensual affair with the younger Lord Peter St. Johns. Peter wants marriage, but Violet refuses. She cannot readily admit emotion, and her past relationships justify her caution. Violet suspects her mercenary older brother has pushed their 19-year-old sister, Isabella, to seek a husband, and she determines to protect Isabella even at the cost of driving Peter away. Violet's failure to communicate this plan to Isabella predictably leads to problems, but her conversations with Peter are as articulate and open as their limited self-awareness allows, and this realistic bluntness helps to balance out some otherwise implausible plot twists. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.