I’ve had Bound By Your Touch on my reading list for a long time, probably because at some point it was recommended by Malin or Mrs Julien or both. As per usual, a rec from these ladies turned out to be a pretty lovely romance.
Heroine is Lydia Boyce, a spinster bluestocking (my favorite!) who works for her father in the trade of collectible Egyptian artifacts. Boyce Sr. is an academic archaeologist actively excavating, and Lydia is essentially his business manager back in Egypt. She earns her meet-not-so-cute with Viscount Sanburne when, in the middle of one of her lectures, he interrupts to show off a new piece to his father, in attendance. Annoyed at his rudeness, Lydia proclaims Sanburne’s artifact a fake; however, she later learns that the forgery originated in one of her father’s shipments. Embarrassed and determined to make it up to Sanburne — despite his original faux pas — and salvage her father’s reputation, Lydia promises to discover the origin of the forgery and reimburse Sanburne’s buyer.
Working together on the case, as it happens, the two get to know each other in pleasantly surprising ways. Sanburne, despite his reputation as a rake and something of a drunken louse, is actually quite intelligent and is able to engage Lydia’s mind. And Lydia had, unbeknownst to herself, charmed him immensely during their initial confrontation, so though he was already enamored of her sharp wit, he was also encouraged to discover that her passions extend beyond archaeology.
This romance just works. I find that I can’t specify beyond that what is so excellent about it, but ultimately this just serves as an example of a) an author doing great work with charismatic, compatible characters and b) the right book at the right time for me.