This book combines humour, compassion, crisis and romance with development of character, especially that of the hero. The Marquis of Alverstoke comes across as a complex person: selfish where his family are concerned yet generous to his friends; indulging in numerous amorous relationships yet kind to his secretary. His main characteristic is that he easily gets bored.
Enter Frederica Merriville, the eldest of a family of five. She applies to Alverstoke, a connection of her late father's, to help her launch her sister into society. He agrees and from then on his life is not the same, as he gets increasingly involved with the Merriville family. Not only does he offer Frederica advice and support, but also rescues from scrapes her youngest two brothers, the one studious and the other obsessed by scientific developments. This leads him to re-evaluate his own life.
The story is well-paced and has some very funny moments, as well as the usual romance. I've read the book twice and thoroughly enjoyed it both times. If you have never read a Georgette Heyer novel this would be a good place to start. If you're an avid GH reader:- this has some of the activity and humour of The Grand Sophy, but with the kindness and sensitivity found in Venetia (although the romance is much less developed). I recommend it.