Good book. Lady Eden is just shy of eighteen years old and experiencing her first Season. She has spent the last six years, since the deaths of her parents, being raised in a convent. She intends to take her vows and become a nun. However, her guardian and uncle is adamantly opposed to the idea and has insisted that she look for a husband. Even the Mother Superior has told Eden that she needs some life experience to know what she really wants. So Eden and her cousin Reggie have decided to ask Damien Sinclair to show her the other side of life.
Damien has quite the reputation as a rogue and a rake. He has recently inherited the title and a nearly bankrupt estate, swimming in the debts his father left behind. He has been gambling with a purpose, to gain the funds to clear those debts. He also has a shipping company that is his hope for a better future. He is intrigued by Eden the first time he meets her and agrees to her request, though he has some less than honorable intentions of his own.
I enjoyed the development of Damien and Eden's relationship. Eden is sweet and innocent but also has a stubborn streak. I liked the first meeting between her and Damien, as she puts forth her plan and he does his best to prove Society correct in their characterization of him. Though Damien knows he should refuse, his fascination with her leads him to agree. The two events he took her to were real eye-openers for Eden as to what people could be like, but she never really lost her ability to see the good in people. I especially liked the way that she saw past Damien's reputation and the faÃ§ade he showed the world to the honorable and somewhat vulnerable man that he kept hidden. I ached for him with each confrontation with his mother and the memories he had of his father. It was easy to see the effect they had on his ability to believe in love. The more time he spends with Eden, the more she brings out the softer side of him. I loved the protectiveness that comes out as less savory characters make their presence known. It comes as quite a shock to Damien when he realizes that he has fallen in love with Eden, and must decide what to do about it. Eden has some demons of her own that drive her, namely the reason that has motivated her to become a nun. I ached for her when that came out and loved that Damien was the one who was able to reach her and relieve her misery. There are outside forces that do their best to keep Damien and Eden apart, but in the end love wins all. I loved Damien's big moment at the end, as he risked it all to gain the prize.
The secondary characters were well done. There were brief appearances by Damien's two brothers, who have stories of their own that I am looking forward to reading. Each of them also seems to have something driving their own reputations. Eden's uncle appears to want what is best for Eden but seems to be oblivious to the way he is played by those who have their own agendas. I liked seeing Eden go from being a little too eager to please him at the beginning to being able to stand up for herself at the end. Damien's mother was weak and selfish, as well as manipulative, and I did not like her at all. Lord Myddleton was flat out creepy. I hated his smarmy attitude when he talked to Eden. His vicious attempts to ruin Damien had me worried for a while as I wondered just how things were going to turn out for Damien. But, by far, my favorite of the secondary characters was Eden's cousin Reggie. He reminded me of Sir Percy in The Scarlet Pimpernel, with his over-the-top dandyism. I'd love to know just what it was that caused him to want to irritate his father so much. I loved how much he cared for Eden and his way of playing fairy godmother for her. He had an amazing way with words. His banter with Damien was hysterical at times, and absolutely on point at others as he worked to bring Damien and Eden together. I also loved his encounters with Myddleton and the scene in the park had me laughing out loud.