Daisy Whitlaw has an almost impossible dream. She wants to open her own shop, selling affordable everyday luxuries for everyday women, but to do so, she needs money, which she doesn’t have. Daisy’s father is dead and her mother is ailing, and Daisy can barely make enough money working as an assistant in a flower shop to make ends meet for them. Her best friend Judith recently married a marquess, but there is no way that Daisy would ask her for a loan, she wants to make her own way in the world. When the local parish announces that they will be making a charity bequest to one lucky young person, Daisy seizes on this chance with everything she’s got. There is nothing in the wording of the competition that says the grants will only be offered to men and she’s determined to prove that she has what it takes to win.
Crash refuses to let his checkered family background, his questionable parentage, the colour of his skin or the many ways in which people try to bring him down affect him. While he knows his family and those who raised him were never what some might call respectable, he grew up among people that loved him and he’s filled with an unshakable confidence that he’s going places in the world. One of his only regrets is that Daisy no longer speaks to him. When he discovers that she’s planning to apply for the charity bequest, he knows she won’t be able to persuade the charity board without his help. She may despise the way he made his money and they may have parted with a lot of bitter words exchanged from either party, she may have a fiancee off at sea (this bit may in fact, unbeknownst to Crash, be completely untrue), but she needs his assistance and he’s not going to let her refuse it.
Daisy needs to be supremely confident to have a chance at winning and Crash certainly has confidence enough to spare. Using his recently self-imported velocipede, he starts teaching Daisy that sometimes you have to ignore what others say and just throw yourself into things. Go fast, don’t hesitate, or you’ll fall and hurt yourself. Of course all this swagger training requires them to spend a lot of time together. The attraction they once shared is still there, but can they get over the horrible things they once said?
Full review, including my many thoughts on the awfulness of the cover, here.