There have been a recent number of romances that have the aristocratic heroine working undercover as a dress designer. Why this has become so popular I don't know, but this latest offering does, at least, offer a few variations to give it originality. The heroine, Lady Jessica Stanhope, is handicapped, and doing her best to keep it from the rest of society out of fear of contempt and prejudice. She stays out of the public eye as much as possible, and dresses as a frump so as to be ignored. Her difficulties, self-conciousness and means of coping make her a character with more depth than usual. The hero, Simon Westland, Earl of Northcote, has to deal with his own prejudices as well as his past tragic circumstances. Jessica inherits a large fortune, which puts her in danger from her stepbrother Colin, whom she fears will commit her to an asylum to get the money. She offers a bargain whereby Simon marries her and gets her fortune in exchange for his protection. Simon in turn, has lost most of the family possesions due to his late father's spendthrift ways. He has also long been suspected of killing his father out of jealousy over his stepmother - and former fiancee. What neither Simon nor Jessica knows is that the other is hiding secrets. Jessica hides the fact that she is society's most popular but anonymous modiste and Simon is hiding the fact that he has sworn revenge against Colin for past atrocities, and wants to marry Jessica expressly to deprive Colin of the money. If there is a weakness to the plot, it is that the secrets don't seem worth keeping, compared to what they already know about each other, so why risk their relationship to maintain secrecy? It's a small quibble, however, as the two make for an engrossing romance. A recommended read.