Lavinia Stewart has resigned herself to a quiet life taking care of her dissolute brother Desmond's two children, Harry and Sara, but she takes great pleasure in small indulgences, especially a quiet swim. When Lavinia discovers a young boy, Angus, hiding in a nearby tree, she marches him home and gives his guardian, Captain William Chartwell, a piece of her mind. But later Lavinia realizes that what Angus wants and needs is the chance to study with Harry and Sara, so she asks William to let Angus join them in their lessons. As a ship's captain, William recognizes an order when he hears one, so he accedes to Lavinia's wishes and lets Angus visit. William soon discovers just how resourceful and courageous his meddlesome mermaid from next door is, and he decides that marrying her could turn out to be the solution to both their problems. Brimming with nicely nuanced, wonderfully complicated characters, and graced with the author's quietly witty prose, this warm, wise, and wonderful traditional Regency is simply superb. John Charles
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