Looks like I will be the lone dissenter here. I always have a little trouble reading historical romances with scholarly heroines, because she inevitably seems so anachronistic. Pippa is very smart. She keeps a journal with her scientific discoveries - she even discovered that you can cross breed roses! But naturally, she is book smart/street dumb, and so when she gets engaged she resolves to understand the mechanics of marriage before the ceremony takes place. She called upon Mr. Cross (really a disgraced Earl) to teach her.
I find the whole book smart/street dumb thing to be a cliche, and quite frankly a little offensive. Why must smart women always be portrayed as bumbling or absent minded? Pippa's determination to aquire knowledge leads her to her brother-in-law's gaming hell. There is a subplot involving a neighboring gaming hell owner who tries to force Cross to marry his daughter, a story which wrapped up in precisely the way I expected.
Pippa and Mr. Cross spend much of the book trying not to touch one another. I don't mind the building of tension in a romance novel, but this was verging on ridiculous. Mr. Cross, incidentally, is a hero in the "guilty with a tragic past" mode. I don't care for that sort. His internal dialogue drove me insane.
2 stars because the writing itself wasn't bad, but this book utterly failed to draw me in. How about we get some smart lady characters who aren't so naive?