A blue-eyed innocent on the outside and a shark on the inside, dressmaker Sophy Noirot could sell sand to Bedouins. Selling Maison Noirot's beautiful designs to aristocratic ladies is a little harder, especially since a recent family scandal has made an enemy of one of society's fashion leaders. Turning scandal to the shop's advantage requires every iota of Sophy's skills, leaving her little patience for a big, reckless rake like the Earl of Longmore. The gorgeous lummox can't keep more than one idea in his head at a time, and his idea is taking off all of Sophy's clothes.
But when Longmore's sister, Noirot's wealthiest, favorite customer, runs away, Sophy can't let him bumble after her on his own. In hot pursuit with the one man who tempts her beyond reason, she finds desire has never slipped on so smoothly . . .
Maison Noirot, the shop that the Noirot sisters own, is in trouble. You see their best customer, and a girl they’ve come to think of a dear friend, Clara, has gotten herself into a pickle. She was feeling a little free because she is officially on the marriage market and ended up on the terrace at a ball with a man and was caught in a state of dishabille. Oops. Unfortunately for Clara she now has to marry the man and she doesn’t even really like him. Yes, she fell for his fast talk and romantic gobbeldy-gook at the time but she soon realized that she’s going to be stuck with this guy forever! Yuk. Now you really wouldn’t think that Clara’s problem would effect Maison Noirot but it will – in a big way. You see once Clara is married to Lord Adderly, who is only marrying Clara for her dowry, she won’t be able to shop at Maison Noirot any longer because Adderly is a very poor man and therefore won't be spending a bundle on Clara's dresses. Not only do Sophy, Marcelline and Leonie want to save their shop but they shudder to think of Clara marrying the oily Adderly. Clara is hoping for an extended engagement but when her mother tells her that the wedding must take place before the Season’s end – in 3 weeks – Clara gets the hell out of dodge.
Enter Lord Longmore, Clara’s brother. Longmore has a couple of goals. One is to bring Clara back for many reasons and the other is to get Sophy in bed. Sophy would love to be with Longmore but she thinks it would be bad for business and since business is mainly what she thinks about that’s how she makes her decision. Unfortunately for Sophy she really didn’t expect to like Longmore as much as she does and she soon falls under his spell. Sophy and Longmore get Clara back and devise a plan to not only get Clara out of her engagement but to do it in a way that it wouldn’t ruin her reputation even further.
This is Sophy’s book and it’s a good one. There are so many things I like about this series. One of the major ones is that dressmakers are falling in love with Lords and I always love it when the aristocratic men fall hard for a woman not of their station. Everyone else in the ton has issue with it but I love it. I know that it didn’t happen all that often in reality but hey – this is fiction, right? lol
Sophy is a master of disguise and can be quite invisible when she wants. She uses these skills to gather information for the articles that she writes for The Spectacle – a newspaper that all the ton read. When Clara hits the road Sophy uses her many skills to get Clara out of her predicament but that puts Longmore and Sophy in close contact. They really have a deep attraction for each other but they also start to develop deeper feelings. They play off each other wonderfully and it ended up being a very different sort of romance. They’re both quite funny in their own dry way and I loved watching them banter back and forth.
The real niggle I had with the story was kind of a background thing and I just wasn’t catching the significance of it. At the beginning of the book Longmore is depicted as, well, sort of a brainless idiot. Maybe that’s too harsh but his lack of intelligence was mentioned over and over throughout the story. Here’s the thing – I believe that Longmore may not have been an academic and overly “book smart” as I like to say, but he wasn’t unintelligent. So he wasn't an A student and really didn't like school - doesn't make him stupid. I thought him to have a keen mind with a whole lot of common sense and in my book common sense goes a darned long way in life. Because of this he “got” Sophy a lot better than I think he would have otherwise as he wasn’t over-analyzing every plan she came up with. If the mentions of his smarts would have been dropped from the book altogether it would have been fine with me and wouldn’t have changed the story one way or the other, imho.
I really like this series so far. I can’t wait to read Leonie’s story as we really haven’t gotten to know her all that well over the course of the past two books and I’m extremely curious about her. Overall I thought it was a really good book. It had Chase’s great writing that gave us family, love, friendship, humor and a whole lot more.
Rating 4.25 out of 5