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.
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.
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.
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