I had never read a Loretta Chase before, but this will definitely not be my last. Her dialogue is so witty, I couldn't put this book down. You all know me, humor is one of my big plusses in a book. This one has it in spades, plus lots of emotion on both characters' parts, as well as a great story. The story is that of Benedict, the man with the reputation of being absolutely perfect, and Bathsheba, the woman who comes from a family that has been utterly disgraced. Her daughter and his nephew have gone off on a wild goose chase/treasure hunt together, and Bathsheba and Benedict go off together to find them. Along the way, they all 4 learn something about being who you are, yet fitting that into society's expectations at the same time, and about standing up for what you want and what you believe in.
Some good things: the story line with the kids. They had their own full and complete storyline. At 12 and 13, they did not exist in the story to be cute, precocious, or otherwise move the plot along, although they really did all three of those things. They were an integral part of the story, and actually had their own storyline, and their own character growth as the book moved along.
The supporting characters, especially Bathsheba and Benedict's families. Enjoyable, one and all, even when they were being snooty as all get out.
Bathsheba's first marriage was a happy one. I do like it when the heroine has had a happy marriage experience and views sex in a good way. You can move past all the sexual awakening crud and just get to the good stuff (and they do) *g*
And the dialogue. The repartee between Benedict and Bathsheba is so clever and witty, I was held in thrall. Here are some prime examples:
"I beg your pardon for questioning your judgement," she said. "It is nothing to me, after all, if it proves faulty. I am not the one responsible for the Marquess of Atherton's heir and sole offspring. I am not the one who will be toppled from my pedestal if the world learns I have not only permitted but encouraged my nephew to associate with the most shocking persons. I am not the one who-"
"I wish you were the one who had heard of the rule Silence is Golden," he said.
"That is what I like about you, Mr. Dashwood," she said. "You are so decisive. It saves me the bother of thinking for myself."
"That is what I like about you, Mrs. Dashwood," he said. "You are so sarcastic. It saves me the trouble of trying to be tactful and charming."
"I want you," she said.
"I told you so," he said.
And on and on it goes.
If you haven't read Loretta Chase before, I highly encourage you to pick up one of her books. I'll definitely be reading more.