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The Theory of the Leisure Class (Modern Library Classics)
Thorstein Veblen, Alan Wolfe
Lucifer's Champion - Juliet Blyth, Stella Riley After her father dies and his home is left to a mercenary cousin, Vanessa flees to stay with her godmother in London. But along the way, a carriage-crash drops her into the lap of a notorious Duke of Lyndhurst. So notorious is he, in fact, that he is widely known as "Lucifer." Surprising himself, he offers to make her his ward--and she, having no where else to turn, accepts. But plots of love and money interfere with their burgeoning relationship. Can Vanessa teach "Lucifer" the value of steady, monogamous love?

Heh, it's very silly and id-riffic--Vanessa has delightful red ringlets and is immediately loved by everyone (except the eeevil antagonists), Lyndhurst is constantly drawling and raising one eyebrow. But Blyth spends time on their relationship, so that the progression of their banter into mutual trust and affection seems plausible. I found "Lucifer" laughably melodramatic (although everyone else takes him very seriously), but I liked Vanessa, who spends time visiting the Duke's tenants and helping friends with their love lives. She's the rare heroine who is actually *shown* to be friendly and generous.

My one big problem with this book (SPOILERS AHEAD) is that from the very start, Vanessa knows that "Lucifer" has made a practice of abducting women. In fact, a big plot point is that two years before, he'd forcibly abducted a woman he loved, and her fiancee barely "saved her" in time. And Vanesssa is totally fine with this! But then Vanessa herself is kidnapped and threatened with rape. The terror Lyndhurst feels while he's chasing after the kidnapper makes him realize how wrong he'd been two years ago. And so he makes a heartfelt apology to...the fiancee. Not the woman he abducted, oh no. Just the dude. And everyone is very proud of him for doing this! Scary stuff, and it made it very hard for me to root for Lyndhurst's romantic endevours.