Lucy is ahead of her time. She hunts with her brother and his friends, she outrides them, and frankly she's more outspoken than them. But from the start, one of them always made her feel special. But Toby, as he is known to his friends, is now on the verge of becoming engaged to another lady named Sophia, a thought Lucy can't abide. She wants Toby to realise they're perfect for one another, but has no idea how to go about it. Another of her brother's friend, Jeremy, that Lucy finds tedious to the point of annoyance, tries to convince her that she doesn't have a chance, but ends up pretending to be courting Lucy. Could animosity turn to attraction?
I think the actual writing of the book is better than its structure. The characters are sympathetic and interesting, and the way the author fleshes them, the words she puts in their mouths, their thoughts and their actions, make them rise above the clichés from which they sprung. The same can be said from the plot. In all actuality, there is no surprise in some of the obstacles that creep up in Lucy's path, but they are written in such a manner as to be humourous and entertaining and even touching at times. What this means is that here you have a book with a synopsis that would seem ordinary but that will yield a lot more entertainment than would have seen possible.
Another good point for the writing of this book is how consistently character descriptions and later actions match up. The resolution of the romantic conflict does make sense when you consider what the author gave us. It might sound like weird praise, but that is not always the case, and Dare does it very well. Some of the secondary characters are very fleshed out, and interesting, and despite being set up for sequels, still serve the story well.
One of the things I didn't like about the book was that after a certain central event in the book, the romantic conflict kind of takes a sharp turn and seems to go on autopilot. At that point both protagonists fall into the "I love so and so but I think my love is unrequited, and I have to pretend I'm not in love with so and so" posture. It's romance novel fodder of course, and I wouldn't complain about it, except it felt weird in this book considering how straightforward Lucy is previous this central event about what she wants, and how much of a risk taker she's been throughout. And it stretches up until the final resolution of the conflict in another rather cliché way. Like I said, the author's skill is great and she makes the reading of even those less interesting chapters still interesting, but it's definitely one of the low points of the book.
There is one thing that annoyed me a bit (other than a lackluster third period in the romantic conflict and the heavy use of clichés) it is how anachronistic some of actions, behaviours and relationships are. At one point I almost expected the female characters to go off to the fridge to polish off a quart of Haagen Dasz. Thankfully, nothing that blatant happens, but it provides easy reliability to the characters at the cost of the period feel to the book. I think it shouldn't be a trade-off.
Still an engaging book, better than the sum of its parts.