Series: The Disgraceful Dukes #3
Published by Avon on April 18th 2017
“She’s insulted him, lied to him, and done everything in her power to repel him…and somehow ended up completely charming him.”
FINAL DECISION: Loved, loved, loved this one. Quirky and funny with incredibly serious and heartbreaking turns, this book ended up being my favorite of the series.
THE STORY: Nicholas, the future of Duke of Barrington intended to never marry but rather enjoy his debauched life until the madness that runs in his family claimed him as well. When his father gambles him away in marriage to the daughter of a rich merchant, Nicholas eventually ends up making a deal with his “fiance” Miss Alice Tombs. Alice doesn’t want to marry either…she has spent three years avoiding that outcome by scaring off suitors. But Nicholas’s proposal tempts her. The two will marry and spend one month together and then she will be free to pursue her interests in travel and scholarly pursuits and Nicholas will be free to pursue his scandalous life.
OPINION: I absolutely loved this book — and not how I expected to. From the first book in the series, I fell in love with Alice — a woman willing to use her intelligence to avoid an unwanted marriage. She was incredibly funny with her incessant chattering about strange subjects that manage to repel unwanted suitors. From the moment she discovers that her father has won her a fiance, Alice goes to work to try the same tactics on Nicholas. But he sees her in a way that she never expected.
And what can be more attractive than a hero who actually wants to know the heroine’s dreams? Nicholas is a man who knows that he has no future and so he is only living for today. With a family history of madness, Nicholas plans never to marry, never to have children, but rather lead as big and scandalous life he can until the family madness claims him as well. I adored Nick. In the same way that Alice begins to learn more about Nick, the readers also discover that there is far more to him than she or we expect when we meet the man putting on scandalous shows. Despite his despair about his own life, Nick is determined to launch Alice into a wonderful future. And the truth is that Nick’s life hides a great deal of pain and fear and desperation.
The book deals in a wonderfully thoughtful and realistic way the pain of mental illness. Nick suffers both as a son and because of his own fear of descending into mental illness. Mental illness is not usually a topic in romance books — especially not when it might effect the main characters. Here, Nick is living with it every day. The isolation, the fears, the anger, the pain are all depicted here. I don’t want to give away more of the book but I loved how the events played out in this book. It was beautifully constructed and is immediately on my keeper shelf.
WORTH MENTIONING: Yes, there is an Alice in Wonderland theme going in this book.
CONNECTED BOOKS: BLAME IT ON THE DUKE is the third book in The Disgraceful Dukes series. While the characters appear in other books in the series, this book can be read on its own.
STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.