Series: The Disgraceful Dukes #2
Published by Avon on August 30, 2016
“Thea had made an error of epic proportions.
A tall, broad-shouldered, duke-sized error.”
FINAL DECISION: Rollicking road trip with a man haunted by his brother’s death and the woman whose plans he ruins by making her a social success. Filled with humor and great emotion, I greatly enjoyed this book.
THE STORY: After three disastrous seasons and an infamous jilting at the altar by the duke who ended up marrying her illegitimate half-sister, Lady Dorothea Beaumont intends to get through one last season and then retire to her aunt’s estate in Ireland and freedom. Then, the Duke of Osborne decides to single her out and make her popular by waltzing with her. Dalton believed that he was avoiding Thea’s desire to trap him into marriage, but his actions incense Thea who insists that he help her escape. But Dalton has secrets including his search for the man who destroyed his family.
OPINION: For me, the highlight of this book was the witty relationship between Dalton and Thea that deepens as they two travel together and learn one another’s secrets. The two begin by exchanging letters (one of my favorite devices). Amusing and revealing, the letters jump start their relationship. By the time they encounter one another in London, they each already have plans on how to deal with the other. Both Thea and Dalton have hidden scars that are not obvious in their society roles.
Thea has been raised her whole life to make the perfect match. When her debut was a failure, Thea knew that her lack of perfection reduced her importance to her family. Feeling as if her only value is her marriage prospects, unable to form real relationships with others and lonely beyond belief, Thea has allowed life to happen to her. When her plans for her future are upset by the duke’s actions, she begins to find out who she really is. I loved the amusing personas that Thea tries on during her journey with Dalton which are truly all facets of her becoming the woman she wants to be.
Dalton is a man who appears to be an aimless rake about town but is actually a man with a secret identity hunting for the man who murdered his younger brother. He, too, has been emotionally abandoned by his family. He has a hard protective shell around himself, but inside he cares deeply about people.
The story of who murdered Dalton’s brother had a surprising ending, which I enjoyed. I thought the story was in good proportion with the romance. Enough to keep the book interesting, but not so much as to overwhelm the romance.
I enjoyed this book even more than the first in the series. I thought that the characters had a more interesting emotional journey and their romance was more complex. While humor is key component to both books, this one felt more complete and emotional (a quality I especially like in my romances).
Bell is a new author and I’m glad I took a chance on reading her books.
WORTH MENTIONING: This hero has a bit of the Robin Hood/Batman flavor without being a duplicate of those stories.
CONNECTED BOOKS: IF I ONLY HAD A DUKE is the second book in the Disgraceful Dukes series. It can be read as a standalone.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.