Julian Sinclair, Earl of Ravenwood, has selected Sophy Dorring to be his next wife as he needs an heir to continue his family line. His first marriage was a disaster, with his wife Elizabeth cuckholding him and ultimately drowning in the estate pond. Sophy, orphaned at 17 and having failed during her one and only season, should have been grateful for the offer but turned Lord Ravenworth down. Only after getting his word to some specific terms was she willing to marry him. Sophy's a pretty special young woman for her time. She has a natural talent for understanding and using herbs for medicinal purposes and has a reputation for being skilled at dispensing the perfect remedies. She's practical and extremely intelligent. Julian thought that because of her age and she having resided in the country he was getting someone who would provide him an heir and be no trouble. He got more than he bargained for in Sophy who wants time for them to get to know each other and she's incredibly strong willed but respectful. Both want a seduction but have polar opposite views of what that means. Julian's pretty jaded from his past experience so trust is a huge issue in this story. It was incredibly interesting to watch both of them struggle to communicate their needs while attempting to dominate each other. Sophy's trying to get him to express love through little seductive actions, like notes and attention; Julian thinks that if he makes lovemaking a great experience for Sophy and makes all of her decisions for her, he will have artfully seduced her. What's extraordinary here are these are timeless issues that can be juxtaposed in a modern era and still be relevant. The push/pull tension made for great storytelling. The dialogue is sophisticated, clever and well crafted. The supporting characters are interesting and provide additional conflicts but don't overwhelm the story; this is all about the relationship between Sophy and Julian, which is pretty complex. Both have great friends that enhance the story. Even when they ultimately have their physical passion, Julian and Sophy still return to their problems. The author quite adeptly uses the third person narrative to transition pretty nimbly between characters, allowing us to see how each interprets the same scenarios time and again. Yet, the pace of the story never suffered, allowing the metamorphism of Julian and Sophy's relationship occur so naturally before us. I've had this book for almost two years, with my beloved sisters-in-law begging me to open it and read it. I liked everything about this...the story, characters and writing. I may have taken my time getting to this one but now I cannot wait to find more by this author and devour them!