Dominick Avery, Viscount Rexton, has a brilliant mind, yet is so intoxicatingly handsome no one ever takes his intellect seriously. He cultivates a wicked reputation as Lord Adonis, Master of Love, until his uncle sends him an irresistible bequest of books, on the condition he accept also the prim librarian who comes with them.
Miss Callista Higginbotham struggles to support her quirky household as a rare book dealer and librarian, while tottering on the dangerous edge of poverty. But she quickly finds herself in greater danger yet, as her desire flares for the infuriatingly flirtatious lord. Dominick wants nothing more than to unleash his luscious new librarian from her straight-laced propriety. He’s learned, however, never to trust desire—and certainly not the all-consuming passion that soon bedevils him. But when Callista discovers a plot against Dominick’s life and risks all to save him—they both learn that love is the one lesson that cannot learned from books…
This book...oh this book. Let me put this out there first and foremost--LaRoche has her heroine, the very prim and proper Miss Callista Higginbotham, come up with not only the dewey decimal system (because it makes more sense then alphabetizing alone!) but also the card catalog system. Which I admit to missing quite a bit (but that's a discussion for another day). Its 1846. The Dewey Decimal System is created by Melvil Dewey in 1876. I'm going to assume from here on out that Melvil saw the system at the Rexton residence and stole the idea--it seems that happens a lot to this family!
This book went on much longer than it should have. While I admit that I am fond of books where the hero is the one pushing for the heroine to 'make an honest man out of him', the entire situation was so contrived that it annoyed me moreso than anything else. Worse, once that was taken care of there's yet ANOTHER obstacle--that comes out of the middle of nowhere I might add--just to drive it home to the heroine that she must love him.
LaRoche turns the whole 'dumb blonde' thing upside down by making Rexton too pretty to have a thought in his head, but I couldn't help but think that every time he said that being a viscount meant having the power to do whatever he wanted he was being disingenuous. If that was true then why didn't he just come out as brilliant clever boy that he was and damn the consequences 'cause he's a viscount? Why make such a big deal about no one taking him seriously when no less then half a dozen people close to him do?
Meanwhile Callista clearly did not use the brains she was given either. She vascilates between understanding the rules that society plays at and shock when those same rules are thrust in her face. Society will--and has!--overlooked many a thing when a girl is rich, beautiful and has a handsome dowry, but Callista only had one of those things (beauty) and attempted to obscure that even. Everybody knows that being in the home of an unwed (or even wed for that matter) gentleman you're not related to unchaperoned is risking censure. Why did she think that being in TRADE on top of that would save her from ruin?
The redeeming feature for this book was basically the banter between the two leads. Nothing like a couple of intelligent folks trading barbs with each other. I also found Rexton's epiphany that he could marry Callista if he wanted (because he's a viscount so it has to count for something!) and his adorably exuberant proposal (he smacks her bottom so she would wake up and then commences to describe the wedding they needed to plan right away).
LaRoche writes in an engaging voice and many of the secondary characters (such as Great-Aunt Mildred) are delightful. Its just the common sense quota was so far below understandable I found myself constantly being taken out of the story (who goes alone to a creeper's apartments for a business deal? Callista does!) and wondering how any of these characters managed to survive.