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Recently betrothed to Lady Meriel Grahame, a wealthy but strange young woman, Kyle Renbourne, heir to the Duke of Wrexham, is called overseas and asks his rakish twin brother, Dominic, to masquerade as the groom-to-be, a deception that has unexpectedly dangerous repercussions
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When Dominic Renbourne is visited by his identical twin Kyle, he steels himself for the sort of bitter confrontation that has marked their meetings for years. But when Kyle makes an exceptional request, and offers some family land as a bribe, Dominic feels his defenses failing. Unable to deny the desperation in his brother's eyes--or the chance to finally inherit some of their family's wealth--he agrees to an unusual charade. Dominic will temporarily take his brother's place in the courtship of the beautiful, if possibly mad, Lady Meriel Grahame.
The mysterious Lady Meriel is as unpredictable as was rumored. After her recovery from a childhood kidnapping, she turned inside to her secret world of silence and the comfort of her lush garden. Though two elderly relatives and an Indian caretaker have since watched over her, Meriel can not communicate, and flees from the external threat that Dominic presents.
Unable to dismiss Meriel's odd behaviors as insanity, Dominic seeks to uncover the source of her pain and the core of her complex personality. Warmed by his patient compassion and gentle encouragement, Meriel begins to open up to him. But the pressures of society and the growing threat of her commitment to an asylum force Meriel to choose between these two worlds. Helplessly in love with her, Dominic searches for a way to help her find her true identity, while continuing to conceal his own.
When switched identities, arranged marriages, and even the mildest case of insanity meet, a novel is bound to be an absolutely entertaining hoot. As well as creating sympathetic characters and their realistic development, Mary Jo Putney has a talent for capturing the complex rivalries of siblings and the conflict between our internal and external lives. Though the arrival of a final plot twist is distracting and unnecessary, Putney has once again written a solid historical novel that should support her reputation as one of the finest romance writers of our time. --Nancy R.E. O'BrienFrom the Inside Flap:
le, his twin brother, Dominic Renbourne agrees to take his twin's place for a few weeks at Warfield Manor, where he is to pay court to Lady Meriel Grahame, the orphaned heiress Kyle intends to marry. The last thing Dominic expects is to be entranced by a silent sprite whose ethereal beauty is as intoxicating as the flowers and trees that surround her.
For much of her life Meriel has lived outside normal society, finding joy and peace in her garden, safe from the nightmare that nearly destroyed her as a child. She is content with solitude until the handsome intruder begins to inspire dreams of life beyond her sanctuary. Despite his longing, Dominic's sense of duty keeps him away from his brother's future bride, but Meriel's untamed spirit proves more powerful than Dominic can resist . . .
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