The chief draw for me, the moment in this book when I decided that this was to be a favorite, was when Felix first began winding Alverstoke around his grubby little finger. There's just something so charming and funny about a little twelve-year old boy backing a thirty-seven-year old man into a corner with devilish innocence. Felix knew exactly what he was doing all the time, that brilliant little scamp. He just may have outshone all the other characters in sheer gumption.
This is not to say that the main hero and heroine were any less fascinating to me. Frederica is a refreshing heroine because her selflessness isn't of the martyred sort--she really just doesn't spare a thought for herself, more concerned as she is about the lot of her beautiful younger sister. And it's just as refreshing that Frederica never indulges in self-pity, not even in her lowest moments during the course of the story. She is simply too smart to waste all that time and effort, and a heroine who knows the value of page time is an marvelous thing.
Alverstoke's progress is also an excellent thing to read, as he finds himself more and more foundered in the Merrivilles' various scrapes and less reluctant to disentangle himself from their many messes. I also really liked his friendship with his steward, Mr. Trevor, and probably would have read a book that was just about Alverstoke dumping all sorts of his duties in Trevor's capable hands with their accompanied snark.
And the Merriville family dynamic was also rather interesting to me. Jessamy was an instant favorite, if only because he's so awkward and unsure about what he wants to be, and I know what that's like. Had Heyer followed the way romance novel writers go about today, I would have been thrilled to read a sequel that revolved around Jessamy and Felix falling in love with worthies of their own.