This is one of those books that I just never wanted to stop reading. I admit to being a bit weird in that when I don't like a book, I read it as fast as I can but when I love a book, I slow down and take my sweet time with it.
I basically really like the synopsis on the back so I picked it up without even bothering to read any of the reviews. Oh boy, was I rewarded. I enjoyed this book to no end.
Daphne Wade has lived many places around the world with her father working on excavation sites by repairing the antiques that are found in each dig. Her mother died when she was young and then her father dies, her mother's father(a baron) denies her existence and she is left alone in the world. She heads to England to do a job her father had accepting before he died with the Duke of Tremore, Anthony.
Daphne believes she has fallen in love with Anthony as she spies on him working at a dig site shirtless. That all ends when Anthony sister comes to visit and she hears a discussion between the two of them. Viola, Anthony's sister, wants to help Daphne find a husband since she has befriended her. To do that, she wants to do a sort of makeover and take her to London for a season. Anthony scoffs at this calling Daphne a stick bug and a machine. No one would want someone so plain in his mind.
Daphne is heartbroken at the time but the next day she takes things into her own hands. She tells Anthony she is quitting and will be going with Viola to London to find a husband. She basically takes Anthony to task and tells him where he can stick it. Anthony is shocked by this new Daphne that he has never seen. The Daphne he knows stutters her words, is shy, works hard and does everything he says without complaint. This new one tells him how arrogant he is and that she want to work reasonable hours.
At first he is not happy with this new Daphne but he needs her for the next five years and especially the next 7 months for his museum opening in London. He at first bribes her to stay 3 months by offering her triple pay, bonus money for a dowry, and an extra day off work each week. Then he starts trying to charm her, eking out more time by teaching her to dance and such. Along the way, they fall in love.
I loved Daphne. She was strong and held her ground against Anthony. She didn't instantly forgive him. She also realized that what she felt for Anthony at first wasn't love but infatuation. Anthony is a sweetie albeit an arrogant one. Once he finally sees Daphne, he starts falling in love with her.
Their romance is what captured me. Daphne hates Anthony for quite a while and Anthony tries to charm her to stay longer. Slowly Daphne and Anthony find a friendship in each other. There was always an underline attraction between both of them but both chose to ignore it for different reasons. Daphne because of what he said and Anthony because he doesn't want to ruin Daphne and he is also afraid of love. I enjoyed that their love and friendship was built on more than just lust and attraction but also that they had things in common with each other.
In many romances there is a suspension of belief usually regarding how long it took for the couple to fall in love. But in this book, it actually takes them months of slowly circling each other to fall for each other or to at least realize that they have fallen for each other. Anthony makes tons of mistakes but I think that what made him an attractive hero and also very realistic. He wasn't perfect but he did try to make amends. I loved that he was the one chasing after Daphne in the end. How he wooed her was so sweet.
Definitely one of my favorite romances of all time.