When New York society's infamous ugly duckling is forced into an engagement with a Gilded Age Prince Charming, they join forces to save themselves from each other and soon realize they make an outstanding team.
As a "gawky, ungainly girl of thirteen," Daisy Swan was dubbed Ugly Duck Daisy by beautiful Theodore Prescott the Third, Manhattan's favorite heir. The horrible nickname stuck, cementing Daisy's outcast status, so she's horrified to learn her mother expects her to marry him. Daisy's been looking forward to spinsterhood and living a life of independence, launching a business around the complexion cream she's developed using her chemistry degree from Barnard College. However, after a particularly embarrassing scandal, Theo's father, a celebrated tycoon, decides marriage to a sensible girl will rein in his restless son. Theo and Daisy meet, express their shared abhorrence for each other, then conspire to launch Daisy's product, hoping for financial freedom so they won't have to marry. Despite his wastrel reputation, Theo has always wanted to prove himself somehow, and it turns out he's very talented at marketing. Using his packaging ideas and advertising copy, the complexion cream is an instant success and leads to more business ideas. Meanwhile, working together forces them to look beyond the surface and uncovers a surprising attraction, making them question whether they actually want to cancel the wedding. Scandal rises again, from an unexpected source, and as social and familial pressures change, suddenly being together is the challenge. Rodale's (Duchess by Design, 2018, etc.) second Gilded Age Girls Club title hits the romance sweet spot with an uplifting, empowering love story that underlines the point that the best adventures happen not when the prince saves the princess, but when two people bring out the best in each other, fall in love, and change the world in the process.
Completely satisfying and delightful.