Throwing a house party to help him choose a wealthy bride, Matthew Devenport, Marquess Langston, only invited Miss Sarah Moorehouse at the request of her rich, beautiful, widowed sister. A plain, outspoken spinster with no fortune to speak of, the debt-riddled Matthew is determined to ignore her. Until she appears in his room one night - when he's completely naked.
Sarah's under no illusions about her place in this house party, but that doesn't stop her curiosity. About many, many things. Especially after she spies her host traipsing through the gardens in the middle of the night, clutching a spade. Catching him naked in his room is just another adventure... especially when he promises to retaliate in kind.
Opening the MAYHEM IN MAYFAIR series, D'Alessandro doesn't disappoint with this tale of the handsome hero leanring that beauty doesn't just lie in the eye of the beholder, nor is only skin deep, but comes with intelligence, forth-right speech and a vast fondness for gardening. Sarah is a great heroine, well aware of how the world sees her and has made her peace with that. She doesn't pine for what she can't have, nor waste time second-guessing Matthew's attraction to her. True, she doesn't believe a word of his compliments, but she's having too much fun exploring to question.
As a hero Matthew isn't a rake, a wastrel or a bore. He doesn't need reforming, nor spends all his time brooding on his past failings. Nor does he try too hard to resist his attraction to Sarah, even when he doesn't understand it. This is not a book of angst, nor of dark undertones or dramatic tension. The resolution of the subplots do come as something of an after throught, included mostly to add, then remove any obstacles in the couple's way.
Historically accurate this book is not, with a complete disregard of social rules and some pretty indiscreet and plain daft behaviour bounding about, but the interactions between Sarah and Matthew (and Danforth) are beautifully done, as their fascination and friendship develop and deepen. Light, sensuous and easy to read, this is a thoroughly enjoyable way to pass the time.