Royal, author of the Jewel trilogy (Amber, etc.), offers up a straightforward 17th-century romance that, while not as substantial as her previous works, still entertains. Bluestocking Violet Ashcroft has no interest in men; she's convinced they'll only want her for her money, and besides, she wants nothing more than to publish her own work of philosophy. Her plans are overset by the arrival of her handsome neighbor, Ford Chase, who has returned to his neglected country estate with his flirtatious, five-year-old niece to dedicate himself to scientific pursuits. Ford and Violet soon fall for each other, but can Violet be sure that Ford isn't just marrying her to gain the funds necessary to improve his failing estate? Both Violet and Ford are charming in their intellectual single-mindedness, and Ford is refreshingly open about his intentions toward Violet. However, Violet's resistance to the winning Ford feels ever more contrived as the novel unfolds, and their difficulties are wrapped up too hastily, culminating when Violet undertakes a bit of subterfuge which never really bears fruit. Although Royal's playful story glosses over some of the more serious relationship issues probed in her earlier works, this breezy summer read will still satisfy her rapidly growing fan base.