When Abigail Ritchie calls of her engagement to a penniless Lord who wanted to marry her for her money, he retaliates by claiming that she stole the diamond engagement ring. Already hovering on the edge of society she takes the name Ms. Smith and goes to Hertfordshire with her elderly maid Paddles, hypochondriac Mrs. Sturges, and Mrs.
Sturges nurse and her companion. She chooses this location after a chance meeting in London with a distant cousin Cary Wayborn when she learns he lives there. Cary is trying to fix up his estate, Tanglewood, and is renting out part of his house and he is desperate for a woman as it has been so long. Her father is a wealthy merchant who makes Scotch whiskey and she is horrified when she learns that Cary owes her father money and has no intention of paying. It isn't long before his own cousin, Horatio, who hates that Tanglewood was left to Cary, enlightens her about Cary's long history of horrible spending habits. However, Cary is trying to work his way out of his hole.
All of the men in the village have taken quite a shine to Abigail and Cary does not exactly like all the attention she is garnering. But when things finally get physical between them, Abigail knows that she wants more than just sex from him and she worries that he will never regard her as a potential wife. When things go beyond mere touching, Cary decides that they must marry, but Abigail is still concerned that Cary does not love her, so Cary takes her to a rector's house and leaves her no choice but to marry him. When Cary's horrid sister, Juliet, shows up, Abigail runs back to London and much of Cary's stuff goes with her as Mrs. Sturgeon's companion steals much of it. Cary is devastated when he thinks that Abigail has left him, but Juliet, who has just been left by her own fiance, thinks she is the perpetrator. So once in London Cary needs to find Abigail, show her that he loves her and find out if she loves him, and somehow win over her father- who is not at all agreeable to the match.
It was really interesting to read about a hero without a magical all powerful knowledge of money and was actually responsible for his own financial problems. Most of them either have a ton of money or, if they don't, quickly make a whole bunch of it. It was quite refreshing to read about a hero who really needed to rely on the woman to help him through some tough times. Abigail on the other hand was quite the financial genius and gets frustrated quite a bit with Cary's financial problems. Neither really show much in the way of strong personality traits throughout the book and it was a little odd that these two fell in love with each other when all they really had going for them was some rather annoying banter. Abigail and Cary banter and argue for literally quite a lot of this book and it gets beyond annoying after only a little while. And it really seemed as if this banter was not at all romantic or sexy or really indicative of any true feelings between these two. It really just made it seem as though these two did not like one another and had nothing with which they could talk about together.
I really enjoyed the sex between these two as it was quite a nice change for them to be engages in more friendly banter with each other. I found it a little odd that he referred to his member as "the Prime Minister" while Juliet was the Queen and lovemaking was discussing important business. I also very much enjoyed when these two were talking about their relationship, even if I didn't like it when they talked about almost anything else. For awhile the side characters were funny in their little eccentricities- such as Mrs. Sturgeon's whining and complaining and her stupid bird. However, I got annoyed with her very quickly and even more so with the people around her, like Cary and Abigail, for not giving the grumpy old bird a slap on the face. I was also incredibly disappointed that the book featured Juliet and Wayborn and both came across as completely horrible people and were unbelievable mean to each other, judgemental, and just plain awful in every way. I kind of liked these two in their own book, and really they were quite ruined for me here.
Rating: This book had some big problems and I felt it really lacked romance really, but as usual, I do like Lejeune's fast-paced and fun writing.