Hugh Ancaster, seventh Duke of Ripley, is well-known in society (or possibly rather infamous) as one of the three dis-graces. He has returned from an extended trip to the continent just in time for his fellow dis-graces stag do. His best friend, the angel-faced Duke of Ashmont, has managed to find a bride and one from a respectable and upstanding family at that. Lady Olympia Hightower, only daughter of the Earl of Gonerby, is the lucky lady. Although she seems to be having second thoughts, as Hugh finds her about to climb out the window just moments before the ceremony. Having accepted the duties of best man, Ripley can’t very well let the bride run off.
Lady Olympia Hightower should be deliriously happy. After seven seasons, during which she’s been dubbed “Most Boring” and not received a single suitable marriage proposal, she is about to become a duchess. The fact that her absent-minded father is bad with money will no longer be a problem, and her many brothers will be more than amply provided for. Her future husband is wealthy, handsome and can be very charming (when he’s not in his cups). Of course, he’s a rake of the highest order, and Olympia isn’t exactly expecting him to stay faithful, but she’ll be a duchess and her wedding day should be a joyous one. Instead she’s getting drunk on stolen brandy in the library and contemplating eloping. Alone.
Not only is she caught in the act by the groom’s best friend, the infuriating Duke of Ripley, but he insists on following her, and trying to persuade her to return to the ceremony. Olympia is determined to go to her aunt’s house in Twickenham, and persuades Ripley to take her there. It’s become obvious to Ripley that Ashmont could probably benefit from properly wooing his bride a bit more before they actually tie the knot, so he reluctantly agrees to accompany Olympia, knowing that them disappearing together for a few hours will just be written off as one of the many pranks the dis-graces have played on each other and others throughout the years. What is supposed to be a simple journey of a few hours, turns complicated rather fast and Ripley is in for a much more time-consuming and complicated task than he ever suspected when he agreed to stand up for his best friend.
Full review on my blog.