One of the main reasons why I think Gwyneth Paltrow was so good as Emma in the movie of the same name was that she is more Emma than Emma herself. Who better to play an overbearing, know-it-all, spoiled character who knows nothing of the real world than what she has experienced in every day of her privileged existence? Gwyneth Paltrow is more Emma than Emma could ever be. With that said, I picture Gwyneth Paltrow as the personification of the Lady Mercy Danforthe in this book.Lady Mercy Danforthe Flirts With Scandal is intended to be a retelling of Emma. While not the most likeable character in the world, Emma worked because even if she is an interfering busybody, she is innocent and well-intentioned, and truly has everyone's best interests at heart. Lady Mercy Danforthe, on the other hand, is an single-minded, simple-minded meddler who suffers from a major case of hubris. Neither of the main characters in this book have any redeeming qualities whatsoever, and it must be said that I cheered when things did not go their way. Over five years ago, the very young Lady Mercy and Rafe Hartley eloped. They were found before the marriage was consummated, and the marriage was quickly and discreetly annulled. Since then, Rafe has hated Mercy's guts, and Mercy has gone out of her way to control his life without his knowledge. When her marriage plans for Rafe to wed her former lady's maid falls through, Rafe is furious at what he sees as Mercy's interference, and demands that she finds him a new bride. Blah blah blah, of course they end up falling in love again, what did you expect? There are a few similarities to Emma and this book; actually, only two that I can think of. Mercy as Emma, Molly as Harriet. I suppose Rafe could be Mr. Knightley, but the similarities are nonexistent. More on that in a bit.Mercy is a highly unpleasant character. In other HR novels, when I dislike a character, I generally do so because they are bland, boring, annoying, and stupid. Mercy is not bland, she is not boring, she is not stupid. She is, however, irredeemably annoying. You think Emma was bad? No. No. You do not know interference until you have met Lady Mercy Danforthe. I wanted to strangle her. We started off meeting Mercy in disguise as she once again attempts to arrange Rafe's life...and that's just the beginning of my massive headache."Almost from the very first time they met, she knew it would be her duty to save that man. Not that he was ever grateful."I wonder why...She is an obsessive, know-it-all buttinsky to the nth degree. She twitches whenever she's not on time. She makes everyone feel inferior with her mere graceful, aristocratic presence. She is inwardly condescending and superior in her own intelligence, wealth, and beauty, only so much more obnoxious. She is a professional meddler. "She considered it her mission to meddle in the lives of those she liked and to secure happy matches for her young friends most in need. People told her she was rather good at it, although, as her brother had recently pointed out, they would never dare say otherwise."And meddle she does, even after her attempts come back to bite her in the ass when her best friend Molly runs off at her own wedding. Mercy does have her moments; I liked that she can stand up to Rafe. Speaking of which, Rafe. The most unlikeable male character in an HR I can recall reading in a long while.Rafe is an ill-tempered brat. I use the word judiciously. He is an overgrown child. He throws temper tantrums, he is violent. He is demeaning to women, his communication skills are severely lacking, he can barely string together two words without shouting them. He has a hatred of the upper classes that verges on irrationality. I cannot bring myself to imagine what the rational, neat, composed Mercy saw in him when she decided to elope. Mercy herself describes his personality best when she says "'You're an ungrateful, thickheaded boy. You don't need a wife. You need a nanny.'"He has an atrocious, violent temper, he has no reason, he has no rationality. It is an insult to me that his character was written by this author, that she thinks the people reading this book would find this uneducated, misogynistic boor attractive in any way."'Now I understand why Molly was afraid to face you, if you fly into this temper at the slightest provocation.''The slightest---?''You are reacting quite unreasonably.''Unreasonably?' He stood with fists clenched, knuckles resting on the edge of the table. 'Unreasonably?' He swore in words that would make most women wince, or perhaps even swoon."Right, a temper and a mouth like a sailor. I'm swooning. Actually, no, that's the sound of my jaw dropping at the shock that this character would make me anything but ill. He belittles Mercy so much, calling her the Danforthe Brat, butter-wouldn't-melt-in-her-mouth, etc...but really, he himself has been spoiled rotten his whole life despite his non-aristocratic upbringing."'You have an uncle who adores you and is always there to advise you, a father who cannot do enough for you and is constantly looking to make amends for past neglect—although, I admit, he does not always know the best way to go about it. As for the women in your life, you have all shapes and sizes at your disposal, it seems. But they let you get away with whatever you want. Spoiled'---poke---'Spoiled'---poke---"Spoiled!'"And here is the final straw for me."'I don't care about shouldn't.' He stepped into the chamber and closed the door behind him, masterful and arrogant. 'You came here to put things right. So put them right. Give me what you denied me five years ago.''But I...we...''Unfinished business, my lady. You owe me.'"He waltzes into Mercy's bed, demanding a WEDDING NIGHT. Listen, you son of a bitch, nobody owes you anything, much less sex. Never sex. Ralph is an entitled, rotten motherfucker. Need I mention while the horizontal tango is going on between Mercy and Rafe, he is still on the search for a wife and she is still engaged? I am not a fan of cheating. Mercy and Rafe end up getting along so well because they're both so worthy of the other. Mercy needs someone she can fix, and believe me, there's no fixer-upper like Rafe. He needs her because nobody else can stand up to his idiocy, violence, and temper like she can since women seem to fall at his feet for no explicable reason.This is an insipid book featuring despicable characters behaving like nitwits. Please do yourself a favor and skip this shit.