The Accidental Duchess
by Madeline Hunter
Publisher: Jove/The Penguin Group
Publication date: June 3, 2014
E-book/Mass Market Paperback 400 pages
Series: Fairbourne Quartet #4
Galley provided by publisher for review purposes. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinion presented herein is my own unless otherwise noted.
When Lady Lydia Thornton is blackmailed over the shocking contents of a manuscript she once wrote, she must go to the most desperate of measures to raise the money to buy back the ill-considered prose: agreeing to an old wager posed by the arrogant, dangerous Duke of Penthurst. At least Penthurst is a man she wouldn’t mind fleecing—and she’s confident she’ll win.
Penthurst long ago concluded Lydia was a woman in search of ruinous adventure, but even he is surprised when she arrives at his house ready to bet her innocence against his ten thousand pounds—a wager he only proposed to warn her off gambling.
When she loses to a simple draw of the cards, Lydia is shocked. Now, her problems are twofold: a blackmailer determined to see her pay and a duke determined to tame her rebellious ways. One misstep and Lydia could find herself ruined—or bound to the seductive man who would make her his duchess. http://berkleyjoveauthors.com/book2850
There are many reasons for me to recommend this well-crafted, interesting and romantic story to you; but the biggest is that I loved it and didn’t want to put it down at all! I have come to believe that if I forget to take notes while I read then a book is so good, I get so caught up in it that I just read and enjoy it. And, that more or less happened here!
Rarely have I encountered such interesting and untypical characters nestled in a fabulously unique plot with links to badness, treasonous behavior, and taking advantage of a young woman. In addition the role of male relatives and husbands is explored in regards to their control over their sisters and wives in day to day movement, financial matters and allowed behaviors. But, while the men are in control they don’t act as if the women are dolts.
As we often see, a large portion of the plot relies on one character’s refusal to ask one of these males for assistance in solving a problem that makes one look very bad. Indeed, at the time it could see her compromised or arrested. But she continues to not communicate and does not until she is revealed and cannot deny it.
Were you ever in a compromising position that confiding in someone seemed impossible but, in hindsight would have helped? Does it help to confide in someone close?
I loved that Lydia is very lucky at cards, not to the point where she is addicted but, she realizes that the store of money she can set aside is greater than if she were to use her allowance and it allows her much more freedom than she would have otherwise. The Duke is an active member of the House of Lords and has a lot of influence. He’s had some scandal associated with a duel. But is very honorable. Other characters besides these two are very much support characters. I also liked how she examined her feelings logically and sets out to learn more. The writing of the love scenes is a little fluffy, with the au courant bit of domination and submission thrown in. At least she is not terrified of sex and comes to enjoy it a lot.
It took me some time to link all the parts together and arrive at the same conclusion as Lydia, so the mystery is well done too. And it takes place before the Regency period, during the reign of George III before his porphyria set in.
It really is a rare treat among romance; one of the best I have ever read. I think it is a must read for lovers of historic romance!