Author: Eloisa James
Provided Synopsis: Having made a fortune, Thorn Dautry, the powerful bastard son of a duke, decides that he needs a wife. But to marry a lady, Thorn must acquire a gleaming, civilized façade, the specialty of Lady Xenobia India.
Exquisite, head-strong, and independent, India vows to make Thorn marriageable in just three weeks.
But neither Thorn nor India anticipate the forbidden passion that explodes between them. Thorn will stop at nothing to make India his. Failure is not an option. But there is only one thing that will make India his—the one thing Thorn can’t afford to lose…
His fierce and lawless heart.
Review: Orphaned under unresolved circumstances and unsure she can trust love, Lady Xenobia India St. Clair decided to take her future into her own hands. Despite being the daughter of a marquess, she has taken up a profession in which is goes into the homes of society members and organizes chaos. She has an objective behind this endeavor, however — which is to save up for her own dowry so she might choose a husband based on love, and when our story begins she is on the verge of going into retirement so she might finally settle down with a family.
Thorn Dautry is the wealthy, successful, and illegitimate son of a duke. He has decided it is time to start a family with a woman whose mother demands only the best — in short, she is not charmed by the idea of her daughter married to a bastard. In order to better situate himself with his perspective mother-in-law Thorn buys a country estate and hires Lady Xenobia to refurbish it for him. Having read plenty of romance books, I can say that this one has one of the most unique premises I have ever encountered and at the beginning it worked out incredibly well.
Lady Xenobia is one of my favorite types of heroines; she is passionate, intelligent, and with a temper to boot. Initially, her relationship with Thorn is prickly, but it develops through letters the two must send back and forth from London to the country house to discuss bills and renovation ideas. They develop a flirty friendship filled with so much snark and wit; I could have read their letters for days and have been perfectly happy. Both hero and heroine are very well suited for one another, and I think any reader will come to care about them, along with the secondary characters of the story. Where I believe this book faltered away from its brilliance was towards the end of the house party, where there were love triangles and it seemed as if Thorn and Lady Xenobia threw away all knowledge of each other. It was frustrating to say the least.
Still, this is one the best Eloisa James stories I have read, so fans of her should be sure to give it a try.