Lara Darling is both a `darling' heroine and a sometimes - actually quite often - walking disaster whose exuberance for life gets her into so much trouble. Lara can't quite back off from anything, especially if someone says, "I dare you!" It is these words precisely that came to Lara through her dear and loving grandmother's will and diaries that convince her to go to London for one season to find a wealthy husband. Finding a husband is the last thing Lady Lara Darling ever wanted to do! Why, she'd have to behave like a lady - not drive a coach, not shoot guns, or even swear - my goodness! But her grandmother knew her granddaughter best and with that dare in mind, Lara set out.
Before Lara even arrived in London, she is somewhat impressed by a daring feat of driving of a coach and four by a driver known as `The Baron', Griff Hallsbury. Griff, the coachman was devastatingly handsome and something of a mystery and probably the first man Lara had ever been attracted to. Lara was overheard to boast that the driving feat could be accomplished by herself and just had to prove it. Griff, not forgetting his once elevated station in life realized how if it became known who she was it could ruin her before she ever reached London. Pretending she was a `Mrs. Hastings', he came to her rescue and alleviated her first social disaster. Their paths would cross several times during the season as he always seemed to `be there' when she needed him yet the mystery of who he was and the undeniable attraction between them would grow as well as Lara's frustration that she just would never find a husband or be happy as a wife. As she soon recognized her love for Griff, she was recognized and blackmailed by people from Griff's past that were seeking revenge by placing them in a race to humiliate him and unmask her. Both would then have to `race' to save the other.
I found this to be a totally delightful, fast paced and immensely enjoyable light-hearted romance with just a light touch of suspense and danger. The lead couple was absolutely made for each other and their chemistry was skillfully written. The addition of the grandmother's diary entries was a nice touch that gives the readers insight into the characters and their relationship. The secondary character development of Lara's sisters was a very key and enjoyable entry into the plot and the reader will, as I do, look forward to a continuation of the series as the Darling sisters foray into town for love and romance. The author uses great imagery, witty dialogs, and unusual situations that will leave you chuckling - the `unfortunate incident' with Lord Cartwright is an absolute hoot not to be missed. Bottom line, this is going to be a wonderful series if the first book is any indication of what's in store for the rest of these `darling' sisters! --- Submitted by Marilyn, Official Reviewer for www.historicalromancewriters.com ---