This book is great. You should read it. Details below.
Featuring a delicious rake who needs to get his act together and a bright spinster who needs to set herself free, Meredith Duran’s Bound by Your Touch is a Victorian romance with an Egyptology maguffin and themes of disentangling oneself from unhealthy relationships and a thinking person’s feminism which emphasizes the importance of giving women responsibility for their choices as a component of true equality. All of this is supported by clever writing, appealing leads, and a believable romance.
Lydia Boyce is her family’s designated grown up. She has two sisters, one of whom is an endless pill, and an absentee father. Devoted to his pursuits in archeology, he has convinced Lydia that her role as his representative and protector is more important than her own personal and emotional interests. When a counterfeit item ostensibly from her father is delivered to the rake in question, Viscount Sanborne, hijinks ensue that lead to many interesting places in terms of both story and for the characters’ emotional growth.
Romance novels are full of constrained and plain women who are overlooked by those around them. What I liked about Lydia is that although she is aware of her so-called failings when compared to her more demure and pretty counterparts, she nonetheless does not try to change herself into something she is not. Moreover, and I loved this detail, what Lydia does not and cannot know is that she is sexually attractive to the men around her. It is not a woman’s responsibility to be appealing, but it is nice to have a fiercely intelligent heroine who is unaware of the effect she has on men.
Sanborne is likewise complicated. He is a charming and gorgeous, but also a drifting, gormless scapegrace who has been coasting along with a very fast set buoyed by his own unassailability and enmity for his father. He needs to grow up and find a way to deal with his demons. Lydia is a seemingly odd match for him, but like most people, Sanborne has unsuspected depths he finally allows himself to look into as he becomes the partner she needs.
Meredith Duran is a fantastic writer who successfully balances entertaining, sincere romance with genuine and complicated characters. Her books are great. You should read them.
Also by Meredith Duran:
Rules for Reckless Series (not entirely interconnected, more of a theme)
That Scandalous Summer – very good
Your Wicked Heart – delightful novella
Fool Me Twice – excellent
Lady Be Good – nothing special
Luck Be a Lady