How to Tame a Lady by Kasey Michaels
From their very first meeting Lady Nicole Daughtry and Lucas Paine, Marquess of Basingstoke, they are very intrigued with each other. The two engage in an interesting little conversation about puddles that confuses those around them but sends a message that they are like two peas in a pod. They both want to see more of the other and the fact that Lucas is a close friend of Rafe, Nicole's brother, and uses this to his advantage. He escorts Nicole to balls, on long carriage rides where he scandalously allows her to control the reins, and to the opera. It is at the opera that Nicole discovers that Rafe has been keeping a secret from her as he secretly meets with another man. Years earlier Lucas' father had been accused of treason and then shot himself before a trial could occur. The scandal has tainted Lucas and his family ever since but when a letter arrives informing him that the charges against his father were fake, Lucas is determined to find out what exactly this person means. So he agrees to go along with Lord Fayne's plans to help incite a riot in the hopes that the masses behavior would lead to more restrictive and prohibitive laws.
Nicole is horrified that Lucas would put himself in danger like that and it reinforces her belief that she never wants to fall in love or rely on another person for her sense of self worth. Her own mother has gone from husband to husband and in general behaves very scandalously in public; carrying on affairs and even encouraging Nicole to have sex with Lucas. Lucas is unable to go through with his plans as he is very sensitive to the hardships of being a member of England's poor right after the war and at a time of great weather upheaval. Lord Fayne is furious and threatens to go public with information that Nicole's mother gave him when they were engaged in an affair regarded Rafe's succession to the dukedom. The two escort Nicole's mother to Dover so she can spend the next year in Italy out of everyone's way and on the way home Nicole and Lucas take advantage of some privacy in an inn to reveal secrets and get to know each other a lot better. Together the two of them must find someway of preventing the Daughtry family secrets from being exposed and some way of stopping the mad revolt on London and if in the process they both realize they love each- then so much the better.
The first thing I noticed about the book was the awkward, confusing, and plain weird conversation Lucas and Nicole had. From the puddle discussion that intrigued them and left Nicole's sister, Lydia, and Lucas' friend, Fletcher, puzzled their conversations continued in the same vein. Maybe it was supposed to be banter, I do not know, but it was odd that it supposedly was part of the reason they intrigued each other so much yet ended up just being frustrating to me. And the heroine has what I have to call very severe mood swings; she's fun and happy being frivolous, she's full of anger at Lucas for something (oftentimes ridiculous), she wants to jump his bones, she's worried she'll end up like her mother, she's frivolous again, she's angsty over Lucas believing she's frivolous, etc... And the bit about her being frivolous was just too overdrawn although I guess since we were supposed to be comparing her to her bookish sister we were supposed to assume she was frivolous. Luckily they did not make her too frivolous as she, like Lucas, had feelings for the common man, and was at least self- aware enough to recognize her faults and to reflect on what she wants to improve and how she wants to live her life.
Even though I found most of the conversations I still liked that it was very obvious that these two had a lot in common and that their falling in love was very believable and very obviously meant to be. I was a bit surprised as I felt Michaels set the reader up for a romance between the sister, Lydia, but it did not happen and I was rather disappointed- hopefully someday soon. The side plot of the rabble of London was very well done and I really liked that it was a book about socially conscious people who did want to help and do what they could. And given that Lucas felt this way because the poor were often soldiers he had faught "with" against Napoleon it was far more believable and enjoyable to read about than society misses who want to found an orphanage because they're so helpful and nice. There was some very nice steam going on here and I liked how attracted to each other the character were put it was a bit of a letdown as it was set up very nicely but then disappointed with innuendos and allusions to what was happening.
Rating: I enjoyed this book as I enjoyed the romance and the plot, but found Nicole to be far from my liking as it was very difficult to really like her. And the heroine is a pretty important part of a romance novel.