Review: The Duchess Hunt

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Review: The Duchess HuntThe Duchess Hunt (Once Upon a Dukedom, #2) by Lorraine Heath
Series: Once Upon a Dukedom #2
Published by Avon on September 28, 2021
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-half-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: I absolutely loved the hero and heroine of this book. The slow-burn nature of these two, who are so obviously in love with one another from the start, just made my heart happy. I was a little disappointed by the dark moment at the end of the book, but not enough to diminish my overall love for this couple.

THE STORY: Hugh Brinsley-Norton, the Duke of Kingsland, failed in his first attempt to choose his own duchess as she was in love with another man and married him. He decides to try again, this time putting the choice to his most efficient secretary, Penelope Pettypeace. Penelope intends to pick the best match for Kingsland because she has been in love with him for years and wants him to be happy. But the duke can’t seem to care more about his possible future duchesses than he does for his secretary.

OPINION: Kingsland is a single-minded serious man. He is determined to be responsible for his legacy and his family. At his side for eight years has been his secretary, Penelope. The two have had a professional relationship. Kingsland doesn’t really believe that he has love in him and is determined to find a wife who is quiet and won’t disturb his life and work, and won’t expect much from him in terms of emotional connection. He prefers his business work with Penelope.

Penelope is efficient and strong and is definitely a match for the duke. She doesn’t have subservience in her, and I loved her. She has experienced such a difficult life, and I liked that she wasn’t hard and bitter, but instead clear-headed and had a good sense of herself.

The book handled well the “office romance” aspect of the book, and I thought that Kingsland had a modern (but completely appropriate) view of women’s roles and abilities.

This couple would definitely get five stars from me. I loved their interactions and so much of their behaviors make complete sense in the context of the novel. My only negative in his book was the “dark moment” at the end of the book that seemed somewhat contrived based on what went before. Indeed, the easy emotional resolution made it seem more like an excuse. Perhaps on a re-read, I might have a different feeling. This is definitely a book I will be re-reading!

WORTH MENTIONING: The book discusses childhood physical abuse.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE DUCHESS HUNT is the second book in the Once Upon a Dukedom series. The book can be read as a standalone although the hero has a significant role in the first book. The book also introduces the men in The Chessmen series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-half-stars

Review: Scoundrel of My Heart

Review: Scoundrel of My HeartScoundrel of My Heart (Once Upon a Dukedom, #1) by Lorraine Heath
Series: Once Upon a Dukedom #1
Published by Avon on March 30, 2021
Genres: Historical
Pages: 368
Goodreads
four-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: Heath does longing better than just about anyone. I didn’t expect to like this one and indeed had skipped reading it until I decided to read the third book in the series and started with this one. I wasn’t excited by much of the plot of this book but the angst filled longing of Kathryn and Griff made this book for me.

THE STORY: Lady Kathryn Lambert seeks to marry a title in order to gain her grandmother’s inheritance which she desperately wants. Now that a duke is seeking a wife she seeks the help of her old friend Lord Griffith Stanwick on how to appeal to the duke. Lord Griffith Stanwick has stifled his desire for Kathryn because he knows that as the “spare” he does not meet Kathryn’s requirements in a spouse and yet he is able to fulfill her wishes by helping her capture a title. Then Griff’s father is found guilty of treason and Griff loses even the “spare” designation. Even while the duke seems the only reasonable choice, Kathryn cannot forget Griff.

OPINION: This book suffers from some of the first book in a series problems. There is a lot of exposition about the upcoming characters and situations. I expect more drama and angst from the next books in the series, but at the same time, I loved how much Griffith showed his devotion to Kathryn. He is willing to give up everything — including her — to make her happy. Of course, he makes this decision without talking with her, but that is part of what makes up the drama in this book.

I began the book not really liking either the hero or the heroine but ended up loving them both. They are both opinionated and stubborn but the story demonstrated the depth of feeling that each has for the other. Some readers might be upset by the fact that both are willing to give up love for material comforts, but I felt that that better reflected the choices of women at the time. At the same time they come around at the end.

Heath writes some of the most amazing endings in romance. The longing that she builds up through the book is released at the ending in beautiful emotions. The final third of this book captivated me. I’m glad that I got through the first part of this book and I look forward to the next book in the series.

WORTH MENTIONING: There is a time jump about a third of the way through this book as this book overlaps with BEAUTY TEMPTS THE BEAST (which takes place during that time jump).

CONNECTED BOOKS: SCOUNDREL OF MY HEART is the first book in the Once Upon a Dukedom series. This series is, however, a spinoff from BEAUTY TEMPTS THE BEAST. It is not necessary to read that book, however.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

 

four-stars