James Durham, Viscount Sanburne, is a beautiful, privileged wastrel, living his life with the sole intention of disgusting his father. So when he acquires an expensive Egyptian artefact, he instantly takes it to show him. Regardless of where he is at the time.
Lydia Boyce may be a spinster and a bluestocking, but she works hard to supply funding for her father's archaeological work in Egypt. So when her vital paper to the Archaeological Institute is interrupted by an inebriated fool, she's only too happy to tell James that his valuable find is a fake.
And this is just the beginning of their encounters as James' anger and Lydia's indignation uncover a serious plot that not only deals in forgeries, but threatens the integrity and reputation of Lydia's whole family.
Along the way, James and Lydia strike sensual sparks off each other as they challenge and constantly reassess each others expectations. Both have been in someway betrayed by their families, yet they cling to their loyalties. But can James sit back and watch another woman self-destruct in her blind loyalty? And can Lydia ever heal James when he refuses to accept the truth and limitations of the past?
Emotionally intense, evocative and exciting, Duran takes the standard tropes of the wastrel and the bluestocking and fills them with life. Her characters are powerfully engaging (I was fully on Lydia's side before I even finished the prologue), fully matched by the elegant, well-researched Victorian setting.
Submerge yourself in her intriguing world, and enjoy another excellent take from a rising star.