The Bride's Protector

Each Precious Hour

Heart of the Night

Her Baby, His Secret

Her Private Bodyguard
His Secret Duchess

Honor's Bride

Lady Sarah's Son
My Lady's Dare

Renegade Heart

The Stranger She Knew

Anneís Perfect Husband
by Gayle Wilson
(Harl. Historical #552, $4.99, PG-13) ISBN: 0-373-29152-3
Like guardian/ward stories? Then youíll love Gayle Wilsonís new Regency historical. She gives us a most unlikely guardian and a lovely ward. Their love most overcome some difficult obstacles before they can find their happy ending.

Ian Sinclair was a major in Wellingtonís army when his career ended in a skirmish with the French. His unit was destroyed and he himself was grievously wounded. Months later, he still suffers from his injuries. Indeed, a piece of shrapnel in his chest poses a continual threat to his life.

Ian is stunned to discover that one Colonel Darlington has made him guardian to his daughter Anne. This is particularly paradoxical since it was the colonelís cowardice that led to Ianís current unhappy circumstances. But Ian is a man of principle. Itís Christmas time and he can only imagine how unhappy the newly orphaned little girl will be, left at her school in remote Yorkshire. So Ian decides to travel northward to bring Anne home for the holidays.

Instead of a child, Ian finds a lovely young woman. The headmistress brings home to Ian that he has a responsibility to find Anne a husband. Thus, he sets out with his ward to London. On the way, they are attacked by highwaymen. Ian, with Anneís help, succeeds in thwarting the threat, but not without endangering his fragile health.

In London, Anne is swept up in preparations for the season. As she comes to know her guardian better, she is moved by his kindness. She recognizes his sterling qualities. None of the men she meets during the season can compare with Ian. She realizes that she has fallen in love with him. Ian has likewise come to love his ward. But he believes it would be unfair to court her, given the uncertain state of his health.

In the hands of a less talented author, this situation might have declined into a ďbig misunderstandingĒ scenario. But Wilson is too astute to fall into this trap. Ian is not simply being noble; his concerns are real. Anne does not hide her feelings; she admits how she feels about Ian. These are both strong characters. Anne, in particular, is an admirable woman. She has not had an easy life, but she maintains a positive view of life. Indeed, it is her spirit that so attracts Ian.

Wilson, as always, provides a strong plot. And thatís all Iím going to say, since she fills her story with drama and surprises that kept me turning the pages. The conclusion is particularly compelling and poignant.

It is enjoyable to meet the hero and heroine of My Ladyís Dare. Both Elizabeth and Dare play important roles in the new book. Elizabeth helps Anne get ready for the season but cannot sponsor her because of the scandal in her past. Dare seeks both to protect his brother and to help him find happiness.

This is the second in Wilsonís planned trilogy about the Sinclair brothers. As always, the author excels in creating compelling characters who behave intelligently and honorably. Gayle Wilson never disappoints. Anneís Perfect Husband demonstrates again that she is one of our most talented romance writers.

--Jean Mason

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