The heart recognizes what the reason ignores.
Passion and love undermine the best laid plans. Eliza Martin, a self-sufficient heiress, who is avoiding forfeiting her freedom and fortune to a husband, plans to retire to the country after her sixth London season is over. Suspicious incidents make Eliza wary of her suitors, thinking someone is trying to force her into a marriage for protection. She hires a runner (London pioneering police) who doesn't take her seriously, but recommends Jasper Bond’s thief-taker associate, Thomas Lynd, who cannot stand Eliza, and ends up asking Jasper to look after her security and to continue with the investigation.
Jasper is an honest thief-taker in a time most aren't. He finds what is lost and protects those in need of security. He also follows an ethical code in his trade. Jasper has worked hard to execute revenge on the family who wronged his mother, and he is closer than ever to achieve his life's goal. He doesn't want a wife, there is no place in his life for one, and he plans to move overseas once his vengeance is consummated. In spite of his traumatic childhood, Jasper is a caring human being, a decent man, and a loyal friend. Protecting Eliza and caring for her is a natural thing for him.
Eliza, being a strong woman in charge of her own life and money, is affected by Jasper's raw masculinity and handsomeness. She is mortified by memories of her mother's risque behavior that she tries to avoid repeating, and which she never understands, until she meets Jasper. Eliza rejects the notion of Jasper working for her, and finds excuses to justify why he isn't the right man for the job. Jasper, who has a penchant for mysteries is more intrigued for Eliza herself than the mysterious circumstances that compel her to ask for his services. Using his wit Jasper convinces Eliza of giving him the opportunity to prove he is worthy of the position. Jasper decides he wants her for himself, and since Eliza has made clear that she will never marry, he doesn't have any qualms in seducing her. Indeed, his resolve increases when Jasper realizes that he might lose her to the opposition, who includes his nemesis, and later in the game, even his own best friend and collaborator.
Pride and Pleasure is a satisfying reading, the characters are of the most sympathetic ones I'd ever encountered, and the love scenes are fervid. The first one between Jasper and Eliza is one of the most original and passionate, seducing the virgin scene, I'd ever read. The more they learn about one another, the more their mutual admiration and love spring up. The suspenseful subplot makes one distrusts nearly all the secondary characters until the discovery of the wrongdoer. The book is written in a prose that belongs to the period is set, and there are plenty of witty exchanges amongst the characters. That has always been my favorite part of historicals, so I fully enjoyed the beautiful and diverse usage of the English language by the author for our reading pleasure.