Skeptic scale: ♥♥♥♥♥
This book really has it all - witty banter, lovable characters, superb one-liners, and a wonderfully original doing-it scene in a proper London drawing room.
He: Quinlan Bancroft, Marquis of Warefield is everything you would expect a nobleman to be - gentlemanly, urbane, immensely wealthy and of course, possessed of looks "to disquiet a maiden's heart." We find out as the story progresses, he is sensitive, charming and plain old nice. Importantly, he is far from the do-gooding papa's boy he appears to be at the outset.
She: Maddie Willits is the paid companion of Quin's uncle, Malcolm Bancroft. She assists Malcolm in the management of Langley Hall and has proven herself a worthy helper. We also learn that she is hiding from a scandal in her youth when she is ruined by lordly scumbag.
Conflict: Although Quin is immediately struck by Maddie's uniqueness, he also knows nothing can come of his flirtation with her - their social situations are just too different and besides, he has been betrothed, practically since birth, to a woman of impeccable refinement and breeding. Maddie, for her part, wants nothing to do with Quin because in her experience, fancy London noblemen cause nothing but trouble for girls like her.
There's a lot of push and pull between H&h; their chemistry is undeniable but so is the utter impossibility of their being together. Their arguments are heated and laced with a sort of comic brilliance that I, who am not normally one for histrionics between men and women, was actually a little disappointed that I have never experienced for myself, the sort of passionate anger that leads to ripped bodices and mangled cravats. Ah well...That's what romance novels are for!