This request comes from Kinsey Holley, who is begging for help. BEGGING I tell you.
It's a Regency (maybe Georgian, but 19th cent. England) and the hero is a rakish Earl with a penchant for opera dancers and the heroine is a rather plain – not unattractive, just not pretty – young lass whose father is a dissolute gambler who basically wagers her with the hero and loses, and the hero finds himself with all the father's worldly goods AND his daughter to boot.
I specifically remember a phrase that pops up all through the book – “diamond of the first water.” The heroine mentions several times that her mother was a diamond of the first water – i.e., gorgeous – but she knows that she's not.
I can even recall (I think) the hero's title – Earl of St. Ives. Given name, Nicholas. You'd think I could find that with Google, right? Nope. When I Google it I get two results – St. Ives, the skin products company, and…..a comment I left in a SBTB review back in 2009.
And if it turns out that this is an easy peasy one I'll be embarrassed, but I'll also be so happy!
Anyone remember this book? It'll make Kinsey's day!