This highly amusing little romantic farce follows on from the same author's Carsington Family quartet, and is set ten years years later, in 1831. The two main characters are the children from Lord Perfect (Carsington Quartet 3)
who have since grown up.
Peregrine Dalmay, son of the Marquess of Atherton, who has the courtesy title of Earl of Lisle and is usually referred to as Lisle, has spent most of the past ten years in Egypt, helping Rupert and Daphne Carsington (from Mr Impossible (Carsington Quartet 2)
) with their excavations and research. He is back in Britain for what was meant to be a short visit to attend the 95th birthday celebrations of the Dowager Countess of Hargate, (Rupert's grandmother).
Unfortunately while Lisle is back in England, his self-centred parents remember his existence and ask him to go to Scotland to take charge of the repair work on a family castle near Edinburgh, which has stalled because of a supposed curse and alleged ghosts.
Despite the threat of having his allowance cut off if he refuses, Lisle is minded to defy his parents and return to Egypt, but then an unstoppable force of nature with flaming red hair and deep blue eyes intervenes ...
Olivia Wingate-Carsington has form for disrupting Lisle's life. When they were both children, she ran off to the other side of the country in a madcap quest for a long-lost treasure, dragging Lisle along with her, with his Uncle Benedict Carsington (a.k.a Lord Perfect) and Olivia's mother in hot pursuit.
Lisle's uncle Benedict is now Olivia's stepfather, and has done his best to bring her up respectably, but with only partial success. Early in the book she describes herself as "Last night's scandal" having acquired this nickname in society for such antics as regularly getting engaged only to break off the engagement within days or even hours. Most debutantes who behaved the way Olivia does would be shunned by society, but as she has blossomed into a spectacularly beautiful woman, and can expect to inherit a substantial fortune, men continue to flutter around her like moths round a flame.
Facing the prospect of having to finally marry and settle down, Olivia decides on one last adventure. Arranging for a couple of elderly aunts to act as (highly ineffective) chaperones, she and Lisle will travel to Scotland, banish the non-existent ghosts or whoever is behind them, disprove the curse, and restore the castle. And as usual, she will not take "no" for an answer ...
Mayhem and mystery ensue: if the creators of "Scooby-Doo" co-write a novel with Georgette Heyer this is the kind of entertaining romantic farce they might come up with.
Although this novel can stand on its own, you will get more out of it if you have previously read the Carsington quartet, particularly "Lord Perfect" and "Mr Impossible." This will give you an idea of what the people who have brought up the hero and heroine are like - most of them are referred to several times but do not directly appear in this book - and being aware of the childhood history of the two characters will give you an idea of what is going through the hero's head when he says to himself things like "Here we go again!" after the heroine drags him into another mad adventure.
One of the charms of this book, which again you will appreciate better if you have previously read "Lord Perfect," is the book's brilliant description of how disconcerting it can be to experience romantic attraction or strong desire for someone who had previously been your best, and platonic, friend.
If you do want to read the Carsington family quartet which precedes this book, the four novels in that sequence are:
1) "Miss Wonderful (Carsington Quartet 1)
2) "Mr Impossible (Carsington Quartet 2)
3) "Lord Perfect (Carsington Quartet 3)
4) "Not Quite a Lady
Very amusing and entertaining, I can recommend this book.