The heroine in Miranda Neville's latest novel, The Dangerous Viscount, is not that likeable at first but fortunately she grows on you because she grows up and puts away some childish behavior and childish fantasies. The hero in this novel is divine, exceptional and really memorable and he is the reason this story works.
Diana Fanshawe is ecstatic to be invited to Lord Blakeney's home, she's been infatuated with him for years and since she is now a widow she has set her sights upon him. Also in attendance is Blakeney's cousin, Sebastian Iverly. Oh, Sebastian, he is painfully awkward around women, controlled, uncertain and scholarly. He finds women a nuisance, he's barely been around them throughout his entire twenty-six years, but he is enchanted by Diana.
Diana is not exactly welcoming to Sebastian, she's cordial but she does something so mean spirited that I almost hated her; she uses this poor man's infatuation against him in a teasing bet with Lord Blakely. She is not very kind in this portion of the book.
After the house party, Sebastian turns over a new leaf, hoping to gain Diana's notice. Sebastian really does metamorphis into a somewhat debonair chap, he gets a new wardrobe, learns the art of social niceties and small talk and Diana cannot help but mark the changes. Sebastian is a planner and he plans his conquest with skill, and a little help from friends, he plans his campaign like it is the Norman invasion. Sebstian though still keeps part of his scholarly personality, it doesn't all disappear, he still loves old books and he still is at odds with his cousin Lord Blakeney.
For the first half of this novel Diana is shallow and a tad vain and still stuck in the past. It's almost as if she has reset the clock to five years earlier when she was a debutante at eighteen, she acts and thinks like she is still in her first season enraptured by Lord Blakeney. She is blind to his faults and worse she becomes simpering with him. It isn't until her sister Min, a very well written character who has more spark than Diana (I hope she gets her own book), gets involved before Diana realizes that people change and they should mature.
Sebastian and Diana have a somewhat dishonest relationship at least with facts, they keep secrets, but I never doubted the sincerity of their feelings, especially on Sebastian's part. They are a couple who recognize their relationship needs communication and forgiveness to work and fortunately they are not so very stubborn that they cannot adapt and mature into better people. Sebastian especially needs Diana to help him overcome his past and she needs him to show her a better future.