Jason Cummings, the Duke of Rayne, has worked diligently for years to be responsible and take care of both his sister and estates. Now, as he is nearing thirty, he feels that it is his duty to find a wife and father some heirs, and after experiencing just how ruthless some of the debutantes on the marriage mart can be, he asks his sister for assistance. Just as he seems to have found a promising lady of suitable temperament, his wooing is temporarily derailed because of bluestocking Miss Winnifred Crane, who wants to join the prestigious Historical Society (one of Jason’s refuges) and is willing to do anything to prove her credentials.
Winnifred, or Winn, as she prefers to be known, is the daughter of one of Jason’s old art historian professors from Oxford (not that he remembers her much) and claims to be the author of several very insightful and interesting historical essays. Now she wants to be admitted to the Historical Society (who don’t even like the idea of a women visiting their hallowed halls, let alone becoming a member of their exclusive group). Unfortunately, her cousin (who also wants to marry her) tries to stop her by claiming HE wrote the texts, and therefore Winn enters into a wager with the head of the society, one of her father’s old friends. If she can prove the origins of a famous painting hanging on his wall, she’ll be considered for membership.
To win her wager and prove her credentials, Winn needs to go to Europe, Vienna to be exact. She’s quite happy to go off alone, but her cousin/fiancee insists on accompanying her (so he can try to sabotage her mission – if she loses the bet, she has promised to give in and marry him). Lord Forrester, the head of the Historical Society and father of the young lady who has taken Jason’s fancy, asks him to escort Winn and her little entourage to Calais, where other people will be on hand to see her to her destination. Little do they know that Winn has a plan to trick her cousin and travel on her own. Jason observes her sneaking off the ship to Calais and follows her onto a new one, headed for Hamburg. He is unwillingly trapped on the vessel with her, and once they reach Germany, his honour won’t allow Winn to travel unaccompanied to her destination. What follows is a very eventful road trip? Will Miss Sarah Forrester seem like the perfect bride once Jason returns to London?
Full review on my blog.