When I read that Loretta Chase's (a favorite historical romance author) newest novel would be a take-off of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, I wasn't super-enthused. Taming is not a favorite of mine and thus I came into this novel with only middling expectations. Those expectations were exceeded in pretty much every way. This is Chase's best outing in a number of years.
The "shrew" in this telling is Cassandra Pomfret who is sharp and intelligent and outspoken. In fact she's known as deGriffith's Gorgon, Medusa or Prophet of Doom for her unwomanly interest in politics and her willingness to make a scene when her passions are raised. She couldn't be more different than her younger sister Hyacinth who is pretty and agreeable and sweet. When Cassandra goes too far in a public meeting and embarresses her father one time too many, he lays down an ultimatum, Hyacinth will not get to enjoy a London season or marry until Cassandra herself gets married. Cassandra loves Hyacinth and wants everything good for her, but marriage?
Enter her "Petruchio", the Duke of Ashmont - who admittedly doesn't show to best advantage at first "Lucius Wilmot Beckingham, the sixth Duke of Ashmont, slowly lifted his head from his folded arms. He'd been called the most beautiful man in England. He'd been called other things, too, but that's for later. At present his fair, curling hair stood in ragged corkscrews. His excessively blue eyes were bloodshot. Bruises, a few days old, adorned one." Ashmont and Cassandra know each other and at one time she had fond memories of him. But when his inebriation leads to a crashed carriage and injuries, she doesn't hold back about how she views him now. But as she's forced to deal with him, she begins to hatch a plan. One that will satisfy her father and save her sister's happiness.
They do work things out and do so in a funny, sparkling, sharp, warm, lovely way. If you're looking for something that will make you laugh and warm the cockles of your heart, this is it.