Sir Alexander Thornton has been leading a dissolute life and is bored with his usual pursuits so when his friend Edmund challenges him he readily agrees. Alex bets Edmund to kiss one of the tons most eligible young ladies while Alex himself is challenged to kiss the very beautiful Blythe Prescott. The challenge to kissing Blythe lies in getting around her very protective older sister Emmeline, who is determined to find a decent match for her sister. Alex certainly does not qualify as everyone knows that he is quite scandalous and had masqueraded as his twin brother. Emmeline needs to keep Alex away from her sister and will do everything she can, including never letting her sister out of her sight, confronting Alex's mother, and even following Alex to his favorite tavern's and warning him to stay away. It is at said tavern that Alex is first set upon by two men, whom he chases away before he can discover what they are after.
But the more time he spends with Blythe, and by consequence Emmeline, the more Alex realizes that the younger sister is not for him. Emmeline's insecurities confuse Alex and he wants to discover more about her- especially when he learns that she was once in love but was unable to marry the man because her father disapproved of his lower station. Meanwhile Emmeline is trying to get her sister interesting in another man, but Alex misinterprets the situation and thinks that she wants this man for herself. Emmeline sees behind the carefree facade to the man who was hurt when he did his duty to the country by pretending to be his brother, only to have everyone turn against him when the truth came out. The two men who accosted Alex are still out to get him and will stop at nothing to get him even if it means going through someone they think he cares about.
While I normally would not have a problem with two characters coming together while he is in pursuit of another woman, I found it a little distasteful that said other woman was her younger sister. Even more so because he did not really give up his pursuit until well into the book and after he started developing feelings for Emmeline. And then more odd because Emmeline seemed remarkably unconcerned that man who had been after her sister was suddenly so attracted and attentive to her. It did not really add up for me. Emmeline and Alex did not really seem to have much chemistry going on in general and there time together was brief and overshadowed by her worries about her sister. There was one brief sex scene at the end that just left me feeling blah and a few very short scenes little up to it that were just as disappointing. I often felt like their interactions consisted of him being amused by her frustrations about his relationship with her sister.
Alex's feelings of insecurity over being the younger twin were intriguing but, like many things in this book, not really developed fully. Likewise the two men who were after Alex turned out to be a dud of a plot and really quite ridiculous to the point where I wanted to slap someone. One of my favorite aspects of this book was woefully underdeveloped and that was the relationship between Emmeline and her father. It was very interesting to me as he was so disinterested in his daughters and yet manipulated Emmeline's relationships to his own benefit and I really felt as though so much more could have been made of this when it was merely a little blurb in the book. Despite the fact that the writing was actually quite well done and there was a good balance of dialogue and prose it took me several weeks to finish this book and I had to put it down several times.
Rating: Not a horrible book by any means, but I really did not get a good sense of these two characters really falling in love.