Daphne Dale never could have imagined that when she answered an advertisement in the newspaper that she would find true love. Now she has the opportunity to meet her unknown suitor, but it means traveling to Tabitha’s wedding, and into the heart of her family’s sworn enemies. Everyone knows the Seldons are terrible rakes and bounders, but Daphne will risk anything to gain the happiness she is certain is right around the corner.
Lord Henry Seldon is aghast at the latest addition to the house party guest list—one would think after the unforgettable scandal Daphne Dale caused at the duke’s engagement ball, she wouldn’t dare show her face at the duke’s wedding. But here she is, poking her nose where she shouldn’t and driving Henry mad . . . with an unforgettable passion that will turn enemies into lovers.
Lord Henry Seldon is rather mad at his nephew Preston who put an ad in the paper saying that Henry was looking for a wife. Of course he didn’t put Henry’s actual name in it and he didn’t have it sent to his address directly but Henry’s now inundated with letters from lonely hearts all over London. Henry has no intention of writing to any of the women but one letter falls out of the basket and he opens it. The woman is impertinent but funny and Henry finds himself writing back to this Ms. Spooner under the pen name Mr. Dishforth. The correspondence goes on for over a month when they find out that they’ll both be at Preston’s engagement ball. (Preston and Tabitha were the main characters from the previous book in this series, Along Came a Duke.)
Ms. Spooner is actually Daphne Dale, a good friend of Tabitha’s, otherwise she wouldn’t be anywhere near the ball being held in a Seldon home. The Dale family and the Seldon family have been enemies for centuries and they’re not about to make up now. Daphne is so excited to finally meet Mr. Dishforth but she has no idea how to identify him. He told her to wear red, which she did, but little did he know that red was a popular color that season and there were quite a few women in red. When Daphne and Henry spot each other from across the room they are captivated. Not realizing who the other is they dance and have a wonderful conversation. They don’t actually tell each other that they are Spooner or Dishforth but each is sure that the other is THE ONE…until both families intervene and their true identities are revealed. That puts an end to any intimate feelings they might have for each other and go their separate ways.
Much to Henry’s dismay Daphne ends up at Preston and Tabitha’s house party that is being held as part of their wedding. Daphne really doesn’t want to be there but was told by Mr. Dishforth that he would be there as well so she heads to the country. Henry can’t believe a Dale is in his house but he’s excited to hear that Miss Spooner is in attendance and tries to ferret out who she is among the unmarried attendees. While each is trying to figure out who their pen pal is, Henry and Daphne somehow become closer and actually fall in love, must to their dismay. They won’t admit their love because they are each waiting for their correspondent to show up and save them from loving the wrong person.
This is what could have been a complicated premise that was made quite readable by Boyle’s writing. She made the madcap adventures of Henry and Daphne fun and enjoyable and the feuding families interesting enough to want to know more.
Daphne, even at the end of the book, was a bit of a mystery to me. I didn’t know anything about her immediate family, siblings, growing up, nothing. I learned some facts when Henry and Daphne were together and they seemed to have something in common but other than that I felt that Daphne was a complete mystery to me. While I wanted her and Henry to get together I wasn’t sure that they were right for each other.
Henry I got to know a bit more but the story was really based on their time together and not anything from the past. While this was fun it left a certain depth out of the story that would have made it that much more enjoyable for me.
The feud between the families seemed to be an ongoing thing. It was mentioned several times by various members of both families in the way of…remember so and so Seldon with so and so Dale and see who that turned out. We were never given any information and to what actually happened with those people so it was hard for me to see where the feud started.
In the end the book was good. I do think that the secrecy about their identities was taken a bit to far for my liking but it all worked in the end. The end was sweet and it all worked out and that made me very happy.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
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