A deliciously confused hero, an intelligent heroine, fine secondary characters, and a great deal of wit make this a book worth reading.
Emily is from an impoverished and decidely un-tonnish background, and seems to face a future either as a perpetual companion to selfish and demanding distant relations, or living quietly in the country, perhaps as the wife of a vicar. She is at present companion to her beautiful cousin Lucinda, who may be about to receive a proposal from the very rich Duke of Montford. On a visit to the Duke's country estate, during which the Duke will make his choice of bride, Emily meets a well-spoken but rough countryman named Jared, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the arrogant Duke - and therefore must be an illegitimate half-brother - and who ignites in her stirrings of passion she never realised she possessed.
The Duke finds Emily intriguing, but is aware that she is completely unsuited to be his bride. Despite the disapproval of his secretary - who threatens to woo Emily for himself - Jared continues his masquerade until the worst happens: he unintentionally ruins Emily's reputation. Only when he cannot find her does he realise how much he cares for her.