Fallen by Celeste Bradley is a great find! It has refreshing characters, a good story, and it is one of those few books that is hard to put down.
The story starts out with Izzy Temple in bed having the most erotic dream ever only to find it a reality. Lord Eppingham, Julian Rowley, had taken a drunken wrong turn and ended up in Izzy's bed. As Izzy finally realized that it wasn't a dream, she bonks Eppie in the head with a candlestick and screams bloody murder. The other guests in the house come running and hence find Eppie unconscious and Izzy with a torn nightdress. What else can Eppie's father do but demand that he marry Izzy?
Only it wasn't a simple demand to do the honorable thing, it's a mean hearted attempt to settle Eppie down with whom everyone thought was a prim, proper and plain looking wife, not to mention an orphan who is considered to be a poor relation. Izzy only agreed to a betrothal to save Eppie from being disinherited by his father, while she plans to renege later and sail off to America to start a new life. In the meantime, however, Izzy changes Eppie's name to Julian, since she thought Eppie was the silliest name ever, and transforms herself into the new Incomparable.
Izzy is as delightful character as she is honest, refreshing and much more fun than Cinderella ever was! Julian ("Eppie") was the not only the Prince, but her fairy godmother as well. That is where the similarities to the fairy-tale ends as the rest of the story is purely Celeste Bradley's conception. Izzy stayed true to herself from beginning to end, which could sound a bit disappointing since most romantic heroines seem to require character development as the story progresses; but, in this case, Izzy's character was fun as well as kind and honest, and from these basics, it was her reaction to the changes in her circumstance that was enjoyable to read. While Izzy was steadfast, it was heartwarming to see Eppie's transformation into Julian, someone of good-hearted Izzy's (unconscious) creation. Although the story takes on an interestingly grim turn after they marry, the only disappointing part is the reason they had to do so. Nevertheless, Ms. Bradley provides quality entertainment with this highly recommended read.