I never seem to tire of the 'girl dressed as a boy' trope. Why? That picture or idea of a girl going against the mores of the times and discovering a new freedom is exhilarating, particularly when set in times where women were segregated and socialized into given roles. What harsher critic can there be than the 'ton' doing their damnedest to harness the maidenly energies of young woman into their 'proper' places and roles.
Lucinda Parnell is a fiercely independent woman. A perennial wallflower who's closest friends are of a similar ilk. Having discovered that she has no dowry left, no access to funds, Lucy determines to make her own way, to get off the marriage mart roundabout. She conceives of a scheme to earn enough money to make a modest home for herself and her grandmother. To fund it all she turns to the method by which her father had lost her dowry--gambling!
And it's in such a hell she meets Andrew Wentworth, Earl of Dartford, dubbed by Lucy and her friends, the Duke of Daring. Why becomes clear as the story progresses.
Andrew has his own set of ghosts. Haunted by the loss of his family he fends off all who might get close to him--to the point of obsessively changing his London staff every couple of years.
He cannot allow himself to be emotionally touched by anyone!
So enter our Lucy in a disguise that piques Andrew's interest and the groundwork is laid is for a romance with a difference, beset with difficult problems, the threat of exposure and the allure of the unknown. This second of the 'Untouchables' stories contains humour, a certain amount of pathos, stalwart friends, self discovery and excitement--all topped off by the attraction Andrew and Lucy feel for each other, an attraction both are so at pains to deny.
A NetGalley ARC