The Bluestocking and the Rake
In this Regency romance the Earl of Marcham decides to settle down and marry, not only to fulfill his duty to provide an heir, but because a life of idle dissipation has grown tedious. He wants more than a pretty face and an empty head, but the woman to whom he feels unaccountably drawn wants nothing to do with him. Georgiana Blakelow goes out of her way to embrace the role of spinster aunt, concealing an attractive figure in ill-fitting mourning garb and striking green eyes behind unneeded spectacles, determinedly rejecting offers of marriage, and winning a reputation for moral rectitude. Even before they meet, sparks fly, and how these two unlikely lovers find wedded bliss makes for an entertaining story. His attraction is easily understood: he enjoys teasing her, and she responds with spirit and intelligence. Her refusals, however, might strike many as persisting longer than is reasonable, despite the explanations eventually provided, and the happy ending seems a bit abrupt. There are distinct echoes here of Jane Austen, in both language and characterization, but that is a worthy model. Recommended.