Love blooms unexpectedly when an American arrival to Regency London becomes a pawn in a bet between two ne'er-do-well aristocrats.
In yet another variation on Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, Rodale (Chasing Lady Amelia, 2016, etc.) continues to relate the antics of the Cavendish siblings by focusing on the eldest sister, the nerdy Lady Claire. A mathematician by inclination (and unorthodox American upbringing), Claire is less interested in being launched into snobbish society than in attending lectures at the Royal Society. Maximilian Frederick DeVere, Lord Fox, a marquess who has recently been jilted, is looking to salvage his pride and public image as a bon vivant. When an envious friend challenges him to prove his prowess in wooing any woman and making her the toast of the ton—specifically one so hapless as the bespectacled bluestocking—he accepts despite some niggling doubts. Initially, Claire is suspicious of his interest but is willing to use his upper-class connections to gain entree into lofty mathematical circles. As the acquaintance deepens, she finds that his robust body and good looks provide an unexpected avenue for other, nonintellectual, pursuits. Anyone familiar with Hollywood's adaptations of Shaw knows what will unfold, but despite the well-known framing device, Claire and Fox get to have their own pleasures, quirks, and grievances within the assigned roles. In accordance with the nod to reality television suggested by the series' title, Keeping Up With the Cavendishes, Claire's family's shenanigans provide an entertaining, albeit somewhat unbelievable, backdrop to the developing relationship. (All the siblings' narratives unfold simultaneously, so those familiar with the previous installments of the series will recognize moments key to other characters' stories.)
For Austenites with a yen for a hero who is humbled into good sense and a heroine who learns to value sensibility.