When young, lovely American heiress Emilia Highhart arrived in London, most of the fortune seeking ton were instantly enamored, that was until they realized that `grace' was not one of her virtues. Tripping and stumbling over feet whether her own or someone else's was not an uncommon occurrence. At her very first ball, being caught in the arms of the most handsomest man she'd ever encountered had to have been a blessing, or a curse when her aunt informed her that he was the heir to a dukedom, Lord Phillip and his reputation was such that he was entirely unsuitable.
What few people realized was that the man was not Lord Phillip but his identical twin, Lord Devon, presumed dead these last five years. Later finding Emilia nursing a sprained ankle in the library, knowing he must be on his way to his ailing father's bedside, he could not resist a kiss, a kiss that shook him to the core. Devon reluctantly left before they were found in a compromising position, and Emilia who was equally flustered, knew her life as it was would never be the same again.
*** I love it when an author can capture me and was totally engrossed in this lovely Regency debut and finished it in one highly enjoyable sitting. It contained all the elements I look for in a romance, including mistaken identities, duels, scheming and a cast of supporting characters who are as unforgettable as the romantic pair of leads.
Emilia, the heroine of the tale is witty, wealthy, attractive, intelligent, as well as being a complete klutz - in other words, all too human! Devon is the complete opposite of his identical twin Lord Phillip who is a cowardly, mean and ruthless, womanizing rake. The mistaken identity theme and the animosity between the good and evil twin is well-done as Emilia, `rocked' by the kiss from Devon and with his brilliant blue eyes, cannot comprehend when Lord Phillip comes to call and is so inattentive and acts as though the mind-blowing kiss never happened. Her feelings go from ambivalent with Lord Philip and totally alive and aching when with Devon.
Emilia's aunt, Lady Palmerston is a delight as Emilia's `chaperone'. She along with Lady Stillwater were a total hoot, both in their dialogs and their scheming. Lady Palmerston is a gossip who revels in the latest ton scandal sheets, and is amazed at what one learns by walking quietly and eavesdropping. They along with Devon's friend and fiancé Annabelle also added much to the enjoyment of the schemes being laid to reconnect Devon and Emilia once she learned that Lord Phillip (the heir) was not the love of her life but Devon, his twin (the spare) who had captured her heart.
Maya Rodale's debut effort was an extremely enjoyable Regency read, and while not all of the historical aspects made sense, the joy of an entertaining, sweet and lovely romance fully satisfied this reviewer.