The Tribble sisters operate a "School for Manners" in London, specializing in turning out "difficult" girls so they can go out to society and make good matches. When they see Miss Maria Kendall, they wonder why she needs to come to them, as she is beautiful, well-mannered, and accomplished. But one look at her unbelievably vulgar mushroom parents, and they see why she needs their touch to make her acceptable to snobby London society.
Soon after Maria's arrival in London, Amy Tribble's outrageous meddling results in her engagement to the cold and arrogant Duke of Berham in a marriage of convenience. However, as soon as the duke meets with Maria's vulgar parents, he asks the Tribbles to do all they can to break up the engagement. Meanwhile, Maria and the duke are at each other's throats (because of an earlier incident at an inn on the road to London, in which they insulted each other.) But soon, they begin to find out that they have much in common, and neither one really wants to break it off...
Chesney's characterization is always interesting and different, and she doesn't hesitate to reveal flaws in her characters. Berham is cold and uptight, but he has radical yet realistic views on social reform. He's a powerful duke, but he's never been a rake and still has hopes for romance in his life. He's piqued and bothered by Maria's indifference--Maria, a rich cit's daughter who is the only one to have stirred his soul, and who tends to wander off into dreams and fantasies because she's had to cope with harsh, bullying parents.
This report prepared by Casey