When I first started to read this book I was very pleased to realise that Pandora was the cousin of Gillian, the heroine of The Husband List. Pandora and Max were encountered briefly as minor characters in THL.
Pandora, the unconventional daughter of even more unconventional parents, had been dubbed The Hellion of Grosvenor Square by a rejected suitor some years earlier. Six seasons later she is still unmarried. Max, the Earl of Trent, wants her, however, but she refuses to have him. Attracted though she is to him, she tells him that she really wants a hero. What she doesn't tell him is that she wants her marriage to be an enduring love match, as her parents' marriage is.
Max challenges her to set him a test; if he passes, she marries him, and if he doesn't, she can name his bride. Pandora responds by setting him the Twelve Labours of Hercules. Max, clearly an ingenious man, interprets the labours in very much contempory terms, aided and abetted by various of Pandora's family and her best friend, all of whom want her to marry Max. She in turn enlists the aid of Max's best friend (the twit!) to help her defeat Max.
Oh, and Cynthia - Pandora's friend - and Laurie, Max's friend, are a great pair of secondary characters.
Much of the book, including the various lengths to which Max goes to succeed in his tasks, is very amsuing. There are also some wonderful sensual scenes. But where the book falls down for me is towards the end, when the miscommunications seem to get more and more forced. We know that Max and Pandora love each other. They've known they were in love for quite some time. Max knows that she needs to hear him tell her he loves her. Pandora knows that it's not fair expecting Max to confess his love for her when she's never told him that she requires love from a husband... what more do they need??! I was shaking my head at what actually happened before we got a resolution.
Alexander falls down on the manners and customs of the period, too; I don't mind suspending disbelief a little in this regard now and again, but she has her main characters, and their friends, closeted together far too frequently. Cynthia and Pandora visiting Max (separately) in his London house would simply not have been permitted; even if the ladies had been bold enough, the servants would have been outraged and Max would - if he was a gentleman, which he appears to be - have refused to see either of them without a chaperone. Neither even brought a maid with them; young ladies didn't go anywhere without at least a maid.
So... fun, frothy, a little frustrating, and not to be taken too seriously!