Blame it on the Egyptian sun or the desert heat, but as tensions flare between a reckless rogue and beautiful scholar en route to foil a kidnapping, so does love, in the most uninhibited and impossibly delightful ways.
This was a fun regency that takes place amidst the ruins and desert of Egypt. Daphne Pembroke is a scholarly genius when it comes to Egyptian hieroglyphics and the study of antiquities. While visiting Egypt to study the pyramids up close, her brother Miles buys her a valuable and ancient papyrus to translate, which is her hobby. Her hobby must be kept secret for it was frowned upon, back in the day, for a woman to have a hobby other than raising children and keeping house. From this stems all sorts of trouble. Convinced the papyrus contains the key to finding a lost treasure, her brother is kidnapped by criminals. They think he is the only one who can read it. It turns out it's really Daphne who is the only one who can read the ancient document, (which has also been stolen), but the ruthless kidnappers don't know this yet.
Daphne is a widow - a wealthy widow. Her late husband, Virgil, was a scholar and nearly three times her age. She didn't regret it when he passed away for he repeatedly tried to smother her intelligence, jealous her brain was smarter than his. It wasn't only her brain he tried to tamp down. To hide his own inadequacies in the bedroom, he made her feel that passion was wrong, insisting she was too forward and "mannish." She needed to be more ladylike and show some decorum in the bedroom. Naturally, Daphne developed all sorts of guilty feelings about her own sexuality, afraid that there was something wrong with her that she needed to be kept bottled up.
That is until she meets Rupert Carsington - Mr. Impossible.
Tall, dark and handsome with an irresistible smile and charm, he is famous for being a hellion. The fourth son to Lord Hargate, a well known peer in England, Rupert is sent to Egypt as a last resort - to get rid of him and hope he'll lose some of his hellion-ish ways. Naturally, as soon as Rupert arrives in Cairo, he gets in a fight and lands himself in jail. Wherever Rupert goes the local consuls are all too familiar with having to get him out of trouble. Rupert's used to it, you've seen one jail you've seen them all - plus someone always get him out. It's always the same routine until he meets the widowed Mrs. Pembroke with her luscious red hair and large green eyes. The two body parts that are just about the only parts of her body he can see under her black veil and widow's weeds. Daphne has come to the jail because she has heard about him and is in need of someone who can accompany her to find her brother - basically, she needs a bodyguard and he's English, big and knows how to fight. She springs Rupert out of jail and he plays at being her big brawny lummox of a bodyguard.
The two of them set off on a sort of odyssey sailing up the Nile, visiting various spots in search of her brother Miles, who is trying his best to escape from his captors without getting himself killed. He's caught between two warring factions, one is a Frenchman named Duval who is after the papyrus and the other is an Englishman, Lord Noxley (aka Lord Noxious, as nicknamed by Rupert), an acquaintance of Miles' and Daphne's in Cairo. Little do they know he's really known as the feared "Golden Devil," a psychopath who will do anything to get the same papyrus.
Soon enough Daphne is having a hard time avoiding Rupert as a man and imagining what it would be like to make love to him. He's having the same thoughts, naturally. Yet, he knows he must take it slow - she's a prickly thing and as much as she finds him attractive - he's also annoying! He's impossible! He loves to bait her by acting like a dumb ox when really it's all just an act. She finds him exasperating on all fronts - whether it's over something he said or the way he smells so manly and provocative when he gets close to her. Often they find themselves in some
This book was a romance but it's also a bit like an adventure story. Daphne and Rupert, in search for her brother, run into all sorts of danger and fall for each other along the way. It takes them forever to figure out it's love. A few steamy scenes cement the relationship, but it's complicated for Daphne is convinced once their adventure ends he'll find her boring - and it's never really occurred to Rupert she'd want to marry him! She's already turned him down once when he threw out the idea - rather too casually. Having asked her once and been rejected, he's hesitant to ask again. But, love wins out in the end! Rupert helps Daphne overcome her insecurities, loving both her passion - and her large brain! She finds she can't live without her big charming lummox, particularly after a close call when she thinks she's lost him for good.
As much as I had fun with this book and there many humorous moments, there were some parts that dragged and I couldn't help compare it to other books I've read that were better, such as Crocodile on the Sandbank and As You Desire. Still, Mr. Impossible was pretty good and Daphne and Rupert made a great couple, I loved the way she found him so exasperating! I also loved the epilogue, one of the best I've read! If nineteenth century Egyptian archaeologists fleeing from bad guys while finding time to fall in love are your thing - you'll love this book!