Olivia lives life in CAPITAL LETTERS, italicized feelings, and
potentially-ill conceived adventures, all of which she has shared through letters to her confidant and best friend the Earl of Lisle while he lived and worked in Egypt for the past 10 years. But now he is coming home to visit, and she can't wait to see her SORELY MISSED, beloved best friend again.
You see Olivia is a very unusual Regency miss. Having tons of money, beauty to spare, and not much in the way of parental guidance (unless you count a bunch of very old and VERY feisty ladies). She is one of the "Dreadful DeLucey's" who are known among society as swindlers, liars, and cheats. But her family name has come up a bit since her mother married Lord Rathbourne, aka Lord Perfect. Still, she's a DeLucey through and through and admits to having very little "moral fiber," but enough charm to make up for it.
Lisle on the other hand, is about as honest and responsible as they come. Remembering the adventure he and Olivia shared as children, Lisle has done all he can to stay away from feelings, EXCESS EMOTION, and
fun adventures since. Although he's lived and worked in Egypt as an archeologist, he's really rather dull and likes his life as well-ordered as the tombs he excavates. But his memories of Olivia are nothing compared to the living, breathing woman. Not only has she turned into a beauty who turns his (and every other man's) mind to mush, she knows that he is the one person who understands and accepts her completely - just as she is.
Like many fans, I have been waiting for this book. Readers met much younger versions of Olivia and Lisle in Lord Perfect some years back, but even then you could tell these two were destined to be together. I will admit to some fear about Chase's ability to make me enjoy their grown up relationship as much as the adolescent one. In the hands of a lesser author this type of story can go very wrong. But I need not have worried. Chase handled the long distance relationship through letters at the beginning of the book and they told me everything I needed to know about Olivia and Lisle's relationship from opposite sides of the world.
I Loved the way Chase had the two "friends" realize that their friendship had moved into something more. The build up was slow and totally believable. They didn't just jump into bed with one another. And one didn't just *know* they were in love. Each suspected somewhere deep inside that they were meant for one another, but each also realized that their relationship might never work. Lisle loved Egypt first. Olivia loved life and adventure and might not be suited for someone as logical and "boring" as Lisle. And yet, they ended up perfectly together. I have to say I wasn't thrilled with the castle restoration and treasure hunt plot. It felt rather forced and not quite believable - something I'm not used to in a Chase book. But it did allow for a wonderful scene with a French chef, a Scottish kitchen, a cleaver, and a manipulative Olivia that has me chuckling all over again while I type this.
Bottom Line: Another wonderful Chase book. You don't NEED to read Lord Perfect to enjoy this novel, but it will enhance your enjoyment.