Lady Eleanor Griffin, the youngest and only female sibling of the powerful Griffin clan, is twenty-one and frustrated. Her life is being dictated by her three very protective older brothers, one of whom is the Duke of Melbourne, a man almost rabid about protecting the family name and reputation. Fed up with it all and desperately wanting a chance to have a little fun, Lady Eleanor declares her independence. When she threatens to voice her displeasure to all and sundry if her brothers interfere with her plans, thereby compromising the family name, they acquiesce. While shocked that it worked, Eleanor nonetheless takes advantage of her sudden freedom. And all of Londonís less than noble men jump at the chance to romance a wealthy and beautiful women without her brothers breathing down their necks.
But her freedom is secretly being curtailed when Sebastian, the duke, calls in a favor of his best friend, the Marquis of Deverill. Valentine Corbett, the aforementioned marquis, is as jaded and worldly as they come. Heís been making a concerted effort to romance as many married and loose women as possible and has a dismal outlook on love and marriage. But because of Sebastianís request, he finds himself following Eleanor around London and sending back somewhat abbreviated reports of her activities. Even though he has known her since she was a young child and thought of her as something of a pet for years, Valentine suddenly begins noticing that sheís grown up and become quite beautiful. She is also the only woman he has ever actually wanted to have conversations with, and he starts to rethink his feelings about commitment.
Suzanne Enoch has brought her trademark humor and lightheartedness to what appears to be the first of four stories featuring the Griffin siblings. Eleanorís spunk is quite refreshing and far more genuine than what many other romance authors create. Instead of merely asserting that she is feisty, Enoch sets out to prove it and does so many times. While Eleanorís search for freedom and fun make for an interesting plot, the fact that she never knows what she is looking for grows tedious. She suddenly has the opportunity to experiment but doesnít seem to do much with it. Because of that, and her often irritating tendency to bawl for no reason, parts of the book are difficult to muddle through. Of course, the bantering and chemistry between Eleanor and Valentine helps compensate for the dragging storyline and ultimately makes Enochís endeavor quite enjoyable.
As for Valentine, fans of regency-style romances will be very pleased with this hero. Brooding, sensual, charismatic, and handsome, he is also surprisingly witty and understands the heroine more than many of the men in other similar novels. When so many of them tend to be overbearing and rather pushy, he instead encourages Eleanor in her adventures and protects her from her brothers.
While this is not Enochís finest effort, it is a decent start to what promises to be an entertaining series. The writing is light and fun, and the characters usually well-drawn. I anticipate seeing Charlemagne (Shay) and Zachary again in their own tales and am looking forward especially to the love story for Sebastian, the noble and heartbroken duke.