James, Viscount Matheson has newly come into the title and wishes to marry a suitable young lady as quickly as possible, seeing as his sister, now widowed, was embroiled in a terrible scandal due to her philandering husband and a very public scene with a mistress before he died. Matheson’s mother wishes him to restore the family reputation. So he is very pleased when he meets the quiet and pleasant Miss Louisa Oliver in the library at a society ball. Proposing to her after but a short acquaintance, he goes to see her family and is then introduced to Louisa’s vivacious and lively step-sister, Julia Herington. After just a short time, James begins to fear he may have proposed too soon.
Miss Louisa Oliver hated being out in society and felt that she really couldn’t turn down the proposal of a Viscount, even though she’s honestly not sure she’s ready for marriage yet, if ever. All she really wants to do is stay at home with her family, reading and organising the library. Julia is overjoyed that her sister has made such a good match, and even more so once she actually meets James. She knows that her sister hates attention and scrutiny, but believes that James’ wit and enthusiasm may bring Louisa out of her shell a bit more. She hopes she may one day meet a man as nice and agreeable as he.
Louisa manages to persuade James to postpone the wedding until Julia has had her season, and the two sisters go to London accompanied by a fearsome widowed aunt as chaperone. Of course James and Julia pine hopelessly for one another, all the while hiding their true feelings from Louisa, whom they both care very much for, each other and the world in general. Louisa, for her part, keeps having misgivings about getting married, getting more and more determined to break off the engagement the longer she has to spend in society. Will James be able to finally declare his love for the right sister?
This book was far too long for what was really a very simple plot. Full review here.