This is a gentle Regency romance which starts with rather a splendid flourish, but degenerates quite quickly into a dull and predictable tale. This sort of book inevitably runs on rails - heroine meets hero, dislikes him on sight, begins to like him but there are insuperable obstacles and so on and so forth. It’s entirely up to the skill of the author to overcome the constraints of the formula and develop the characters and plot-twists in interesting ways. In this case, the heroine has a certain naive charm, but the hero seemed to veer from sympathy to sneering dislike to anger and back again at the drop of a hat. The conceit of two men competing for the lady as a wager is a very overused one, and again, the hero wavers, telling himself one minute that such a thing is despicable behaviour and the next chasing after her enthusiastically. I also wasn’t very enamoured of the author’s habit of telling us the thoughts of several characters, jumping from one to another within the scene. There’s no law against it, but it does make the story somewhat unfocused, I find. For those who enjoy Georgette Heyer, this is a pale imitation, nothing but froth, but is a pleasant enough way to pass the time, if you don’t mind the mistakes. I do; there are numerous editing errors, and the third use of ‘ingenious’ instead of ‘ingenuous’ was the final straw. One star for a DNF.