Fiercely independent Daisy Chance has a dream—and it doesn’t involve marriage or babies (or being under any man’s thumb). Raised in poverty, she has a passion—and a talent—for making beautiful clothes. Daisy aims to become the finest dressmaker in London.
Dashing Irishman Patrick Flynn is wealthy and ambitious, and has entered society to find an aristocratic bride. Instead, he finds himself growing increasingly attracted to the headstrong, clever and outspoken Daisy. She’s wrong in every way—except the way she sets his heart racing.
However, when Flynn proposes marriage, Daisy refuses. She won’t give up her hard-won independence. Besides, she doesn’t want to join the fine ladies of society—she wants to dress them. She might, however, consider becoming Flynn’s secret mistress…
But Flynn wants a wife, not a mistress, and when Flynn sets his heart on something, nothing can stand in his way…
When we met Daisy in the first book in this series, I never had any idea she would be a heroine later on. She was such a great character, but such an unlikely heroine. However, at the same time, she made a massive impression on me with her bravado and determination to make it on her own.
In fact, her introduction in book one is sending me back there to reread, to meet Daisy all over again and see her evolution across the series.
There are SO MANY historical romances that go the My Fair Lady route, and they’re always wholly unrealistic and impossible to believe in. I don’t care how much people love Cinderella; it is just a silly, impossible story. However, Anne Gracie lets her working class heroine and hero hang out with the ton, but she also acknowledges their differences, and celebrates them. She makes you believe what happened to them could really happen.
I also liked that the plot of the book before this one happens in the background. It’s not intrusive; more like an added bonus for people who read in order.
Gracie’s books are on the light-hearted end of the historical romance spectrum. I tell you from experience: the toffs (as Daisy calls them, and a term that didn’t actually exist until decades after this book is set!) in reality are nowhere near as nice and accepting as they are in this series! Not even in the 2000s, when I was being treated like garbage left, right, and centre while living and working in a truly “toff” part of London!
However, the world Gracie creates is special, and I cannot call it “wallpaper romance” because her research is fantastic, and even though her main players are all very nice, she does recognise the snobbery. I love an author who can throw in a bit of research here or there without making readers feel like they’re reading a textbook. I love being given bits and pieces that make me go running to research as soon as I read them.
Daisy breaks your heart a bit, with her backstory that means she was always struggling. (And please read her introduction in the first book, where she nearly doesn’t become one of the heroines of the series, because she is determined to refuse help when she needs it!) She is strong and smart, and makes no apologies for who she is. It is why she is such a great heroine.
And isn’t it wonderful to have a male lead who wants marriage and family! If only more of them existed in reality… I’m tired of the heroes who need to be “tamed” into wanting a wife.
I become annoyed with authors who anachronistically unload knowledge and attitudes onto their heroines that are totally unrealistic for the era, so this was a nice change.
I think it is great that the last (aristocratic, sheltered) heroine in this series was realistically clueless about marriage and sex, while in this book we had a totally different lead character, and so the book was written in a style – and with beliefs and behaviour – that was true to her. I love that the publisher allowed the author to present completely opposite women depending on the book, and a different level of heat to reflect the completely different characters.
There are a few authors who manage to present the struggle of women in their era alongside a lighter mood in their writing. Lisa Kleypas and Anne Gracie are the two I think of immediately. The charm of these books is exactly why people love the genre.