Author: Sarah MacLean
Genre: Historical Romance
When the ladies' magazine "Pearls and Pelisses" names Lord Nicholas St. John as one of London's most eligible bachelors - he is none too happy. So when the Duke of Leighton asks Nick for help in finding his sister who has run away from home he quickly gets on the first horse out of London.
Lady Isabel is the daughter of a titled wastrel. She has too many responsibilities and very little money. Now that her father has passed she feels it is her duty to make sure that her ten year old brother grows to be the Earl that her father never was.
While Nick is in search of a certain Duke's sister he bumps into (and I mean that in the literal sense) Lady Isabel. Since Lady Isabel is in need of money and looking to sell her beloved marbles and Nick dealing in antiquities, they strike a deal. He'll appraise her marbles all without her knowing that he's secretly searching for the Duke's sister. But when their feelings start to escalate Nick knows Isabel is the one for him... now he'll just have to convince her that he's the man for her.
Once again I was swept away by Ms. MacLean's storytelling. I loved Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake and I was worried that Ten Ways... would not be able to compete. But I'm happy to report that Ten Ways was just as good as Nine Rules... if not better.
I loved the chemistry between Isabel and Nick. Right from their first meeting where he saves her from a runaway coach and she absolutely denies that she was in need of saving I knew that their romance would be one to treasure. Isabel had everything that I look for in a heroine. She's brave, smart, loyal, independent and had the perfect amount of spunk. Nick was charming, seductive, sexy... sigh-worthy. I loved their dialogue and witty banter - they irritated each other most of the time, yet came together perfectly. Both had trust issues and were afraid of love - so their pairing did not come easily - but was so entertaining nonetheless.
Aside from the great leading characters, I also fell in love with some of the secondary cast. Isabel's young brother James was just adorable. He stood up for his sister and his relationship with Nick was so sweet. The ladies who inhabit Minerva House are also worth mentioning. Although you don't get too much one-on-one time with them, you do get some of their back stories and the fact that Isabel had a house full of women (from the stableboy to the butler) was plain funny to me.
What more can I say other than that I loved this book. I loved its intriguing plot, the witty dialogue, and the many laugh out loud moments. Sarah MacLean has become one of my favorite historical romance authors. Definite auto-buy material. I cannot wait for the next in the series... Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (April 2011). And what about those titles? I love them! Highly recommended.