Rank, wealth and elegance are no match for a young lady who writes novels...When a young woman feels slighted by a member of the ton, what else is she do but write an anonymously authored novel about how terrible he is - pompous, arrogant and dictatorial when it comes to the welfare of his young ward. She makes a thinly veiled attempt to hide the identity of the main characters - Sylvester, Duke of Salford.
Sylvester, Duke of Salford, has exacting requirements for a bride. Then he encounters Phoebe Marlow, a young lady with literary aspirations, and suddenly life becomes very complicated. She meets none of his criteria, and even worse, she has written a novel that is sweeping through the ton and causing all kinds of gossip ... and he's the main character.
Sylvester can be a bit pompous and aloof, always aware of his duty to his role and his family and particularly aware of his role as guardian of his young nephew. When he decides that he needs to find a wife, he is not looking for love and passion. He is looking for suitability more than anything, so he makes a list of the eligibile females in the ton. Running the list of names past his mother, she suggests that he speaks to his godmother, who in turn adds one more name - that of her granddaughter Phoebe Marlow.
Phoebe lives with her father and her very overbearing stepmother who thinks that she is too spirited and must be tamed. When Phoebe hears that her father is bringing Sylvester home with a view to matrimony she panics. Her stepmother insists that she will behave properly and so the Phoebe that Sylvester finds is a somewhat insipid disappointment and he is determined that he will leave as soon as he possible can. However, Phoebe is even more determined, and with the help of her childhood friend Tom she decides to escape to her grandmother's house in London.
What follows is a series of adventures that starts with an accident that leaves Tom with a broken leg, Sylvester being snowed in at the same inn as Tom and Phoebe, and ends with Tom and Phoebe being kidnapped by Sylvester's ditsy sister in law and her new husband on a ill thought out escape to France.
Along the way, Phoebe proves to Sylvester over and over that she is anything but the insipid miss he thought she was. She is always willing to point out his faults to him but he finds himself becoming more and more intrigued by her. That is until he figures out that she is the author of the book that has the ton abuzz!
I liked Sylvester a lot! Yes, he was pomp and arrogant but I am not sure what else to expect when you have been bought up to be a duke. We did however get to see his devotion to family, and quite often he didn't realise his own faults. He didn't like having them pointed out to him, but then again, who does.
Phoebe was a harder character to pin down for me. I don't think I ever really got why it was that Phoebe felt so strongly about Sylvester that she could target him in her book. She also was quite impetuous which led her to bring both herself and her family into situations that otherwise could have been avoided.
The path to true love never runs smooth, misunderstandings abound and there were times where I wondered if our hero and heroine were ever going to realise their feelings and act upon them. Ably assisted by a vibrant set of secondary characters including Tom and Phoebe's grandmother, the reader is taken from one adventure to the next. Little do our main characters realise it is the adventure of love!
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Thanks to Sourcebooks for the review copy.