Henrietta Watson’s dreams of marrying the man she loves just hit a snag, it seems her intended now plans to marry London’s most popular debutante – but Henrietta is not going down without a fight. She hatches a plot to turn her neighbor and lifelong friend, the Earl of Kesseley, from a boring gentleman farmer into a Greek god worthy of being this Season’s Diamond.
Kesseley has been in love with Henrietta for years even though she loves another. He reluctantly agrees to go along with her plans to transform him and woo himself a bride. Their arrival in London brings changes to their plans though as Kesseley soon discovers that he enjoys going to parties and being the object of desire for so many beautiful women. Meanwhile, Henrietta realizes that rakish heroes aren’t good husband material and after an explosive kiss from Kesseley, she opens her eyes to the love that’s been in front of her all along. Now she faces the possibility of losing the real love of her life for good.
I’ll admit that I had some difficulty reading this book when I began, I didn’t care for the heroine of the book because of her behavior but I was pleasantly surprised with how the author, Susanna Ives, developed her character throughout the book and by the end of this story I was firmly in the heroine’s corner.
Henrietta Watson is a silly and selfish young woman at the start of the book. She spends her days daydreaming about romantic love and the life she thinks she wants. Of course, Henrietta doesn’t have a clue about what love really is and is oblivious to the man she really loves, her best friend, Kesseley. When Henrietta finally begins to mature she has to face that her actions may have hurt Kesseley in ways she had never imagined and may have driven him to become someone he was never meant to be. Henrietta’s change of heart and her determination help her to make amends and strive to correct her past mistakes but she faces the reality that she may be too late. Henrietta refuses to go down without a fight though and is determined to get the love of her life back.
Kesseley has always been Henrietta’s best friend and has loved her since he was a small boy. Henrietta’s immaturity is finally taking its toll on his emotions though and he begins to think that she might not be the best match for him after all. When he arrives in London and changes his appearance, he realizes that many other women suddenly find him attractive and decides to sow some wild oats. He becomes determined to destroy the man that he was and becomes somewhat of a womanizer, fortunately he’s not unredeemable though and his good sense does break through.
I was thoroughly impressed with Ms. Ives character development and with the conclusion to this book. The dialogue between the characters was colorful and lively. The secondary characters were whimsical and perfect for this period piece. The author’s descriptions of London and its society at the time helped to round out the story. The single love scene at the end was emotionally charged and fit just right. I look forward to reading more Ms. Ives’ work in the future.
When Henrietta Watson learns that the man she loves plans to marry London’s most beautiful and fashionable debutante, she plots to win him back. She’ll give him some competition by transforming her boring bumpkin neighbor, the Earl of Kesseley, into a rakish gothic hero worthy of this Season’s Diamond.
After years of unrequited love for Henrietta, Kesseley is resigned to go along with her plan and woo himself a willing bride. But once in London, everything changes. Kesseley, long more concerned with his land than his title, discovers that he’s interested in sowing wild oats as well as radishes. And Henrietta realizes that gothic heroes don’t make ideal husbands. Despite an explosive kiss that opens her eyes to the love that’s been in front of her all along, Henrietta must face the possibility that Kesseley is no longer looking to marry at all...