Review: The Accidental Duchess by Madeline Hunter

Review: The Accidental Duchess by Madeline HunterThe Accidental Duchess by Madeline Hunter

Series: Fairborne Quartet #4
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Jove on June 3, 2014
Pages: 389
Format: Paperback
Source: Giveaway
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three-stars      three-flames

From New York Times bestselling author Madeline Hunter comes this seductive tale of a headstrong young lady, a scandalous manuscript, and the iron-willed duke determined to save her from her ruin. For fans of Mary Balogh, Eloisa James, and Julia Quinn.

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.

The Delight

A young lady gets into a spot of difficulty over an old manuscript she once wrote falling into the hands of a blackmailer.  Her attempt to earn the blackmail due by gambling fell through and now she is faced with the consequences- the very handsome ducal consequences.

Review

The Accidental Duchess is book four of The Fairbourne Quartet and works best in order though I was able to read it without having to read the prior books.

So, Lady Lydia likes her freedom and wants to be her own woman.  Fine and dandy if she was born in the 20th century, but she was not.  She chafes against the restrictions of society and goes her own way.  Unfortunately, there are consequences.

I’m going to sound like I’m letting our side down as another woman, but I really didn’t get into Lydia’s ‘I am woman here me roar’ anthem.  I don’t believe people should think and act like sheep, but I also think at the same time that running on willfulness and emotion doesn’t serve the situation well, either.  Lydia cultivates this blank look and hides her thoughts.  She refuses to communicate vital information to those who could help.  I sort of get it, but really I didn’t.  She didn’t have a prayer’s chance of solving the problem on her own and I felt like it was pride stopping her, too.

I liked Penthurst from the beginning and loved his scenes even if I wasn’t keen on the romance between him and Lydia.  He’s mature and she acts like a child half the time.

The series arc was an interesting intrigue to a certain extent as was the twisty conflict of the blackmail issue (though I felt the blackmail was not a good device choice for this romance b/c it was part of what scotched the heroine for me).  I think these layered plots are great and I liked them in the author’s other works.

So, though this one didn’t really do it for me as much as others by the author, I will still be picking up her books because I like her writing.  Historical romance fans who enjoy a twist of passion and intrigue should definitely give the author and this series a go.

Challenges

Romance Roundabout #166 HR
Mt. TBR #80
Bad Boys #16
Blogger Shame #28
Books N Tunes #27 Tune:  Joan Jett’s I Hate Myself For Loving You

Recommendations

 The Soldier's Dark Secret by Marguerite Kaye The Duke Can Go to the Devil by Erin Knightley

Preview

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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  • Debbie Haupt

    OOh I love that cover, and blackmail. Count me in! Thanks Sophia Rose

    • LOL, it is a gorgeous cover. She definitely ends up in some trouble there. 🙂

  • That’s one lovely cover.Haven’t heard of this series before but it sounds really good. I’ll keep it in mind. Awesome review Sophia Rose 🙂

  • RO

    I always really enjoy the way you give reasons for why a novel doesn’t work, while still pointing out really good facets of the story. Quite impressive. Hugs and Happy Friday! Hugs…

    • That is a huge compliment, Ro. I want my honest opinion to show through, but also to be fair and balanced to a book.

      Yes, Happy Friday!!!!

  • I do find that a lot of the times when the MC in these books decides to stand up against the norm she ends up acting like a child, it frustrates me and makes the relationship awkward

    • Yes, that has been my experience, too. I get so excited when the balance in the heroine is just right.

  • Ha, yeah, I tried to convey it so others could get the idea. Thanks, Evie! 🙂

  • I agree with your hear me roar opinion Sophia.

    • It might have just been me, but I felt overbalanced too far causing her situation to be worse than it had to be.

  • I think I have this on my kindle! That’s too bad this didn’t quite do it for you but I’m glad that it’s not going to deter you from checking out more of her books! Great review!

    • I hope it works out better for you than me, Cyn. It wasn’t an awful story, but I struggled with the heroine because it seemed she made it tougher than it had to be.

  • I read this one a while back and enjoyed it. I don’t remember feeling that way about her (but totally possible I did lol) but I’ve definitely felt that way about other heroines along the way.

    • You probably did have a good experience with her. I’m going to try more since I really loved the last one I read by her. I could very well have just got off on the wrong foot with her (I had a few in a row and might not have reacted so bad if I’d just read a couple heroines I loved) and I did get irritated when it seemed she was making stuff harder than it had to be.

      • Ah I went and checked my review. I did have some issues with her behavior but was able to overlook them and like her. lol She hit me at just the right time, probably 😀

        • Haha, right book right time. I’ve had that, too.

  • Hmmmmmm. Sometimes that feminist anthem can get wearisome, honestly. I hate saying that out loud because I feel like people will come after me but when it is paraded around in a book, page after page (you know what I mean), I get tired of the heroine reaaaaally quickly. -_- I probably wouldn’t give this book (or series) a second glance. Wonderful review, Sophia!

    Have a great weekend. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • I probably should say that she was more an independent or eccentric than a feminist so I don’t give you the wrong impression because her actions were less political and more personal, but yeah, I did feel she was pushing hard for things and wasn’t interested in consequences which got her into trouble over her head and then she wouldn’t let people know who could help her.
      I liked a different book by her very much and it was mostly the heroine that bugged me so I’ll keep going.

      Thanks, Alyssa! You have a good weekend, too.

  • Sorry to hear that this one wasn’t as good as you’d hope it would be.