The Duchess Diaries is a thoroughly entertaining riotous romantic novel with a heroine to admire and a hero to pant after. Lady Lara Darling is definitely the atypical proper lady with her wild ways of racing and shooting, but with the death of her Nanny L she has been issued the dare to end all dares. That she, the woman least likely to ever marry, had to go to London and snare a husband in just one season. To do that she must put aside her favorite activities and behave - gasp! - like a lady.
On the trip out, she manages to get into a race with the Bloody Baron, otherwise known as Griff the coachman and Lord Trenton. He saves her from immediate ruin by inventing an alter ego for her, and she starts to fall in love with him. He has his own demons to conquer, however; his misspent youth entailed drinking, gambling and womanizing and being the cause of the injury to his best friend. He is now paying his self-imposed penance by earning back the family fortune so he can buy back the family home.
There are the required comedies of errors to keep the two love birds apart, but they are handled so well that the storyline is infinitely believable. Each character is so well-written that the reader comes to feel they know Lara and Griff and truly care what happens to them. The secondary characters are equally well-handled. The pacing of the novel is just right and makes a logical progression to a satisfying ending. The sex scenes are well-crafted and show the female in a strong sensual light.
The Duchess Diaries is a wonderful example of great romance novel writing. If you are a fan of this genre, do not miss this one.