Author: Georgette Heyer
Goodreads Rating: 3.84
The Earl of Spenborough has always been noted for his eccentricity. Leaving Fanny, a widow younger than his own daughter Serena is one thing, but quite another is leaving his daugther's fortune to the trusteeship of Ivo Barrasford, marquis of Rotherham -- a man whom Serena once jilted and who now has the power to give or withhold his consent to any marriage she might contemplate. Lady Serena Carlow is an acknowledged beauty, many eager suitors have vied for her hand, but she's got a temper as fiery as her head of red hair. When her father dies unexpectedly, Serena discovers to her horror that she has been left a ward of the odious Lord Rotherham. Serena raged as she heard her father's last will and testament! How could he mortgage his only daughter to Lord Rotherham, making the very man she had recently jilted caretaker of her inheritance and her heart?
Her father's heir is eager to take over his inheritance--and her lifelong home-- but the the fiery-hearted Serena is not so easily controlled. She with her lovely young stepmother, Fanny as "chaperone", decide to move to Bath. There they'd turn the ton inside out! Volatile Serena and gentle Fanny could not be less alike but they are good friends. Serena makes an odd new friend and discovers a childhood sweetheart, Major Hector Kirkby. All too soon, the scandalous Serena had more beaux than she could dangle on a string, but none of them seemed to matter--now that her former suitor Rotherham pursued another beautiful belle! What she cannot know is that the astute Rotherham has a calculate scheme of his own for capturing her heart. Before long, Serena, Fanny, Kirkby, and Rotherham are entangled in a welter of misunderstood emotions, mistaken engagements, and misdirected love.