Quick refresher: Eloisa James is really Mary Bly, who I wrote about here. I don't really dig historical romance - especially when the hero is named "Darby" in an obvious one-letter difference from hero of heroes Darcy. But Bly's books are so researched, and interesting and funny, and such a window into another time period that, when I wanted something fun to read, and couldn't quite handle another Nora Roberts murder-mystery themed romance, picked up Fool for Love, which James published in 2003.
The heroine here is Henrietta, a country bumpkin of sorts but Heiress whose mother died in childbirth. She has also inherited her mother's weak hip, which doctors told her was the reason her mother is dead, and warned Henrietta that she cannot have children.
Darby (yes, see?) is a bit of a city fop who stands to be disinherited because his aunt is knocked up. Since the aunt (not related to him) and his uncle essentially lived separate lives, and the uncle had a mistress, and the aunt was known to get around, he assumed that the kid is not his uncle's - even though the uncle died in the aunt's bedchamber (intrigue!) So if the baby is a boy, Darby loses his inheritance.
So he decides to hit the countryside to see what's what. He brings his two step sisters along. Their parents are dead, so he's responsible for them. While in town, the girls run away from their nursemaid, and into Henrietta.
And things, of course, unspool from there.
The only thing that really bothered me was the Darby name. The aunt's lover's name is Sebastian. Sebastian! Put that name on a hero!
Interesting read when I didn't want to think about what I was reading. I dig it.