Plot (from avonromance.com)
She is determined to find a husband. . . now! Lady Diana Fanshawe’s impeccable bloodline doesn’t stop society from laughing at the antics of her eccentric family. She knows a proper marriage is her one chance to make her way in the world-which is precisely why she will marry Lord Blakeney, though she’s certain she’ll never love him. But then she’s kissed by the brilliant and unconventional Sebastian, Viscount Iverley . . . and her well-laid plans tumble into disarray. Sebastian wants absolutely nothing to do with love or marriage. But when he arrives at his hated cousin Blakeney’s house party, Sebastian is smitten by the tantalizing Diana. But Diana is “the marrying kind,” and Sebastian has no wish to risk his freedom-though the passion between them is hard to resist. Should the lady follow her heart in an attempt to win Iverley’s, though it seems hardened against her-or should she sacrifice her love for respectability?
Things I Loved
I love Diana. She knows that kissing Sebastian on a dare is wrong pretty much immediately, even before she finds herself attracted to him. And I love her bizarre family: her dad’s scale, her mom’s dog breeding, her sister’s political ambitions.
I also feel so sorry for Sebastian, who’s unfashionable and awkward. He’s never fit in, not as a bullied child and not as a shy adult. I generally enjoy makeover stories, and I love that it was Sebastian who got the makeover here. It’s much more common for the lady to get the makeover; unfashionable men usually stay that way in romance novels, while women are almost always made over in some way.
Sebastian can be such a douche. Seriously. Diana helps his cousin play a prank on him (she doesn’t know their history, and feels guilty as hell about it even before she finds out how deeply it hurt Sebastian). His revenge? First, he is a total jerk to her in public. Then, he seduces her by pretending that he wants to propose, only to abandon her when they’re done. Oh, and knocks her up in the process. Who does that?
Also, he turns into a bit of a dom at the end by throwing around the term “master.” Which is not my idea of a good time, especially since he continues to be a dick to Diana. She can be kind of horrible back, but he started it. Diana initially screws up despite good intentions. Sebastian does terrible things intentionally. I do believe that he and Diana love each other once they’ve straightened everything out (he’s more oblivious than malicious, really), but his attitude spoiled my enjoyment of the story.
2 out of 4 chili peppers (1 being a step above a sex-free gentle romance, 4 being an all-sex-and-no-plot romance). Proceed with caution if you’re more Georgette Heyer than Ellora’s Cave.