A witty and romantic novel of Regency love, family and appalling scandal, from one of our greatest historical novelists. Sir Clement Carnell was the most domineering and strait-laced of fathers, and his death has left his children Louisa and Valentine with a sense of release. While Valentine throws open the Devonshire estate of Pennacombe to their fashionable cousins from London, Louisa feels free at last to reject the man her father chose as her prospective husband - Pearce Lynley. Soon the temptations of Regency London beckon - including Lady Harriet Eversholt, beautiful, scandalous, and very married, with whom Valentine becomes dangerously involved; while Louisa finds that freedom of choice is as daunting as it is exciting. Will the opportunity to indulge, at last, in a little folly lead to fulfillment - or disaster?