Silver-tongued Viscount Sanburne is London's favorite scapegrace. Alas, Lydia Boyce has no interest in being charmed. When his latest escapade exposes a plot to ruin her family, she vows to handle it herself, as she always has done. Certainly she requires no help from a too-handsome dilettante whose main achievement is being scandalous. But Sanburne's golden charisma masks a sharper mind and darker history than she realizes. He shocks Lydia by breaking past her prim facade to the woman beneath...and the hidden fire no man has ever recognized. But as she follows him into a world of intrigue, she will learn that the greatest danger lies within — in the shadowy, secret motives of his heart.
Then the interruption
So I'm humming along doing this post and I didn't like the synopsis I found above--I mean, it doesn't exactly explain the plot, right? So I went for the Publisher's Weekly and check it out:
Duran (The Duke of Shadows) delivers a competently assembled and entertaining Regency romance. The daughter of Egyptologist Henry Boyce, Lydia Boyce is herself a learned scholar. When she discovers that some of the antiquities that her father has been shipping back from Egypt to sell are counterfeits, she investigates, determined to defend her father's reputation and chastise James Durham, Viscount Sanburne, an arrogant dilettante. Their mutual dislike predictably leads to romance, and soon Lydia and James are uneasy allies in the quest for the fabled Tears of Idihet and the counterfeiter. Though the period details seem intended less to enhance the setting than to convince the reader that the author knows her stuff, historical romance fans will enjoy the adventure and look forward to Written on Your Skin, due in August. (July)
I was so startled by this review. I had just read the book thinking precisely the opposite--that the details are wonderful, and brought the period to life for me in a way other books haven't. So reading this really put me out of joint. The bolds are mine and as you may be suspecting, I couldn't disagree more with them. Not only do the details enhance the setting, but they enhance the characters, which is way more important, and one of the reasons I love this book.
2.) Lydia and the bustle, which was coming into fashion; it was funny how she saw it as a stupid and impractical garment. And then the bustle suddenly characterized women who did wear it. Okay, enough on that.
Basically, an incident leads to hard words, which leads to Lydia and Sanburne hitting raw nerves on each other, and then a kind of mutual understanding develops, as well as a tiny notch higher in self understanding, like the H/H begin to alter and affect each other's mode of calcification against happiness. But it's all very small--a conversation going down a several flights of stairs. This, this, this is what I love about a good historical!
Images except cover from Wikimedia. In order: Head of Apollo (copy); Egyptian tomb Illustration from photograph © 1999 Greg Reeder; Painting of woman "Portrait de femme" by Teodor Axentowicz (1859-1938)