The Reluctant Duchess by Roseanna M White

ReluctantDuchess_mck.indd*Giveaway Link at the end of this post! Check it out.*

First thoughts:  This was unexpectedly an intriguing story.  I’ve never read anything from this author, but she has quickly moved to my favorites list.  With plenty of romance, a little bit of mystery and danger, it was a well-written book that was difficult to put down.  The characters were engaging and there were enough plot twists to keep me guessing what would happen next.  I also loved that the book included a list of characters at the beginning.  Call me a book nerd, but I always enjoy visual aids with a story.  It’s a great reference to keep track of the relationships between characters and the different names and titles by which they are referred.

Plot:  Lady Rowena Kinnaird suffered a brutal attack at the hands of her intended.  Then her father comes up with a plan, unbeknownst to her, to trap the Duke of Nottingham, force a marriage and save his daughter’s reputation.  The Duke, Brice Myerston, had no intention of being forced into marriage, until he meets her intended  Malcom Kinnaird, distant cousin.  His abusive treatment of Rowena gives Brice second thoughts and they agree to wed.  Soon after,  Rowena learns that her new husband has a plan to expose the widowed Lady Catherine Pratt for her role in a kidnapping.  After hearing of a curse surrounding the Fire Eyes, rare and extremely expensive red diamonds that are rumored to be in Brice’s possession, Rowena determines to be rid of them and end the curse.

Protect her.  That had been the impression that had seized Brice’s heart when that blasted Scot charged into the room, and it reverberated still now, as he looked down into the chalky face of the woman who had just agreed to marry him.

Characters:  Ahhh!  How much did I fall in love with Brice?  He’s definitely one of my favorite heroes ever!  Even though he’s not completely perfect, he’s pretty darn close.  I loved having a strong, Christian character who is determined to follow where God is calling him.  I love how honorable he is and how devoted he becomes to his new wife.  Rowena is broken- what she’s been through makes her endearing.  I like that the author didn’t try to keep the attack secretive but lets you know outright what happened.   I love that Rowena’s so sympathetic and willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the woman Brice claims is not trustworthy.

Recommendation:  I’d highly recommend this story to those who enjoy marriage of convenience and Edwardian Era stories.  It’s the second book of the Ladies of the Manor series, and I’d recommend reading The Lost Heiress first, as I feel they’re closely connected.  There is a story arc that will go through the whole series, surrounding the Fire Eyes.  If you enjoy Downton Abbey and that era, this is a great read.

Rating:  5/5 stars

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

 For more on Roseanna M. White and her books or to enter her fun giveaway, check out her blog here

Thanks for stopping by my blog.  Even though my to be read pile is always huge, I’m always up for trying new books.  Have you read any good books lately?  I’d love to hear about them.

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