Nicola Sparks, sixteen and an orphan, is ready to dive headlong into her first glittering London society season. She’s also ready to dive headlong into the arms of handsome and debonair Lord Sebastian Bartholomew. Nicola’s dream is a proposal from the viscount — a dream she’s about to realize at last! So naturally, Nathaniel Sheridan’s insinuations about her fiancé’s flawed character annoy her mightily. But when Nicola’s natural curiosity gets the best of her, she begins to piece together a few things for herself. To her great surprise, Nicola realizes she’s had the wrong viscount all along…but is it too late to make things right?
Author: Meg Cabot
ISBN: 0-06-075320-X (Avon)
Finished: 11 October 2006
Who: Nicola Sparks, daughter of a baron, and the Hon. Nathaniel Sheridan, heir to viscount
Meg Cabot wrote a credible Regency for Young Adults. The plot is simple and introduces the world of Regency England to girls without subjecting them to the more daunting Georgette Heyer or Jane Austen.
Seventeen-year-old Nicola is looking forward to the parties and social scene of London, of being part of the “in” crowd, situations many of Meg’s readers could identify with. Nicola has caught the eye of a friend’s older brother. He’s rich, drop-dead gorgeous, a jock (or the Regency equivalent), and has a title. Blinded by these facts, she thinks she’s in love with him and blissfully accepts his proposal to become his viscountess.
But not everything is what is seems. Nicola owns land that her guardian suddenly wants her to sell. Since she won’t, the only course of action is to marry her to someone who will. When Nicola realize that the marriage proposal a means to an end, she breaks it off, and then is promptly kidnapped.
Along the way, Nicola comes to realize that she is in love with the infuriating older brother of her best friend Eleanor.