This book was an absolute delight, from the moment the dreaming heroine falls off the sofa in the first chapter to the slightly bungled romantic scene on the beach at the end. I loved both main characters, I loved the minor characters, I loved the way everything went wrong in the most natural manner possible, and I loved the growing romance between two such unlikely people. I even loved the dog (although honesty compels me to acknowledge that he was as much plot point as comic relief). This one of those books that I really wish I’d written myself. It’s a perfect Regency romp, with a cascade of escalating and very funny disasters that arise purely from the original premise and the characters themselves (well, all right, and the dog, sometimes), combined with a delightfully judged romance.
Here’s the premise: Gwenda Vickers is a young lady who writes romantic fiction, so when she accidentally overhears starchy Lord Ravenel proposing to a lady, she feels compelled to offer him the benefit of her professional advice on how the business should be conducted. He is less than amused by her suggestions. Thrown together by circumstance (and the dog), his gentlemanly attempts to escort her to her family in Brighton lead to any number of entertaining escapades and a growing romance.
What makes this book so charming is the two lead characters. Gwenda has had a wildly eccentric upbringing, so a demure miss she most definitely is not, yet there’s an innocence about her that constantly leads her into trouble. Ravenel is buttoned up tight, but as one near-disaster follows another, he gradually unwinds enough to begin to enjoy himself. The minor characters are great fun, too, especially Gwenda’s oddball family. The final chapters stretch credibility somewhat, but the ending is lovely. Five stars.