I was looking forward to this book because I'm a big fan of this author, and I really liked what I've read of the hero from appearances in other stories. The heroine has also been a supporting character in a previous book. The setting of this book is Victorian England.
Both the hero and heroine in this book have undergone changes to their personality, due largely to circumstance. They both seem to be unaware of it until pointed out to them by friends and family. Winfield Elliot, Viscount Stillwell was something of a rake in his younger days. After the defection of his cousin, three failed engagements (none of the three being his fault despite public opinion), and some maturing, he is still the charming, likable man he always was but also became more responsible and a man to be counted on. At the opening of the book, a fire damaging his family country home and facing his father's mortality shocks him and have him acting not quite himself at times. Lady Miranda Garrett is a widow. She comes from a large and opinionated family. In her family she was often regarded as the meek and mild one. She later married a man she loved, but she often acquiesced to his wishes and let him take all of the credit for her contributions to his architectural firm. After her husband's death, she is still hiding behind the scenes in many respects. She also continues to let her family think of her as they always have. Win & Miranda meet when Win hires her firm to repair and restore his home. Their first meeting is rocky because Win expects to be dealing with a man. They have a brief battle of wills in which Miranda is the victor. This sets the stage for their future dealings with each other. The meetings are filled with verbal sparring, which eventually leads to attraction. Miranda's intelligence and strength sparks Win to voice some conservative ramblings just to be contrary and draw out Miranda. I like watching the moment when Miranda finally thinks of Win as carming and Win realizes his desire for Miranda physically as well as intellectually. My favorite moments were when he shows her the folly and shows her his romantic side, and when they both sing each other's praises to her family. I like that Win isn't turned off when he finds out that she is the brains behind her firm, only wanting and waiting for her to tell him because he wants her trust. I also liked how, near the very end, he doesn't go for her brother's stupin plan to get her to admit it.
The ending is fabulous and totally true to the characters.