The Duke’s Disaster by Grace Burrowes #Review

Posted January 28, 2016 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 17 Comments

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The Duke’s Disaster by Grace Burrowes #Review
The Duke’s Disaster

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Series: #.5 True Gentlemen
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released on April 7, 2015
Pages: 446
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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I was hooked in by the blurb and the promise of a new series by an author I enjoy reading.  And the title, how could I resist a duke’s disaster?

Actually, it was a near thing because this duke and his ‘disaster’ had some iffy moments at the beginning (I shouldn’t have doubted.  Any book that wins the TBR Pile vote has been excellent.  Thanks, guys!), but I stuck with it and was so glad I did.  This is a poignant story with some deeper issues and twists than could be seen from the start.  From a marriage of convenience grew a passionate love and I was glad to get the chance to read about it.

The book opens with Noah Winters, Duke of Anselm, making an offer to the companion of the young lady he had been courting.  Noah made a promise that by a certain age; he would wed and secure the family line.  That birthday is fast approaching and the Season is nearly over with no prospects save the possibility of Lady Thea Collins.  She is a lady of excellent family, but her family has fallen on hard times with the death of her parents and her brother a wastrel.  He has observed her closely and feels they would suit better than any other female he has seen.  He isn’t looking for love and doesn’t even feel he is capable of it.  He has the wild, rakish Winters’ blood in him.  He is trying to live down the reputation of his family for dangling after women and has no desire for passion and love particularly in a wife.

Thea is startled by Anselm’s calculated proposal.  He lists out the pros for both of them and makes it clear about his expectations.  The duke is not known for a warm-hearted happy nature, but he is not mean and he handles the care of his family and his business, well.  The majority of society would pounce on such an offer, but Thea hesitates.  Then she realizes the good she can do for her youngest sister on the cusp of entering society and also securing her own future.  But Thea has a dark secret and fears the duke would call off in a heartbeat if he knew.  She knows she must tell him, but how can she?

As this unlikely pair come together, Thea’s secret threatens to destroy any chance of a successful marriage.  Then there are the menacing others who hate Noah and Thea and would do anything to crush them.  Noah and Thea must work hard to make things work and somewhere along the way, feelings start to be involved.

Let me say, that I ended up really engaging with this story.  It will probably be one of my favorites by this author.  However, for the first several pages, I was considering setting it aside.  I didn’t immediately take to either hero or heroine.  There were assumptions and misunderstandings.

The dialogue felt sniping to me and I don’t care for that.  But then, I had one of those light bulb moments and instead saw the humor and that they were being sarcastic, but not cruel.  Noah was cruel at first and seemingly hypocritical, but I soon realized that he was lashing out of hurt and as a reader, I saw what Thea did not.  She jumped to conclusions about Noah and he let her so he wasn’t really a hypocrite so much as a stubborn male.  When things felt dire, he was smart enough to go to a close friend for advice and he took it to heart for the most part.  That was when I started respecting Noah.  He even learned to apologize.  Gasp, I know.

So this story was a marriage of convenience trope with the added issue of Thea’s secret burden that tainted the whole thing.  The author didn’t sugar-coat things.  They started as near strangers who weren’t even that friendly and the author developed and teased out slowly a carefully built relationship and romance.  I had no trouble buying into the difficulties and slowly gained little victories as the marriage for convenience became more.

The author also wrote these people as a product of their times.  The reader has to be careful not to superimpose modern thinking onto the story.  Noah handles things like a man of that time just as Thea, though having a strong personality, still thinks like a woman of the era.  Her secret has far-reaching consequences for everyone involved with her which is why people react so strongly when they learn it.  This is important because her secret

Spoiler title
Thea does not come to the marriage bed a virgin and is considered spoiled goods, but worse she waited to share until after they were married. Noah had no idea if she told him the truth about it being long ago so he must wait to make sure she is without child before he comes to her bed and it makes him harbor suspicion that she is a golddigger. Thea’s loss of virginity also tarnishes all their reputations- Thea, Noah, their future children, the Winters family, Thea’s sister, and her brother if it becomes known. So this was a huge issue for all concerned.

is pretty much the huge cause of conflict from the outside and the inside of their marriage.

The author presented a large cast of characters and I enjoyed all the various interactions of family and friends even enemy moments.  Thea and Noah have a lot of time in every day scenes alone and scenes they share with extended family.  There is humor and heartwarming moments laced through the romance and the heated passion.  Though everything else may be messed up, Noah and Thea have great chemistry and it is the single thread their marriage dangles on at times.

So, in the end, I am so glad that I stuck with this one.  It ended up being a fantastic read for me and I can heartily recommend it to historical romance lovers who particularly enjoy the marriage of convenience trope.

My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #21 HR
Literary Pickers #21 whip
Mt. TBR #13
New to Me #11 series
Blogger Shame #1

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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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4 years ago

Great review! I think I’ll add this to my library HR shelf. My goal is to read at least 15 HR this year.

Sophia Rose
4 years ago
Reply to  Lekeisha

This will be a nice one if you’re looking to try the marriage of convenience trope. Thanks, Lekeisha!

Lover Of Romance
4 years ago

oh I really liked this book as well! Such a fabulous romance and probably one of my favorite books this author has written so far. I am so glad you stuck with it, its one of those stories that was well worth it even if the beginning wasn’t all that grand.

Sophia Rose
4 years ago

I’m glad I kept at it, too, Renee. At first, I really didn’t get these two, but then I caught on and fell in love.

Red Iza
4 years ago

A very good surprise, then, a deeper story than you expected 🙂 I like the idea of a heroin of historical romance acting like someone of her own time, too often they are portrayed like we modern women would like them to have reacted back then. Added it to my list 🙂

Sophia Rose
4 years ago
Reply to  Red Iza

Exactly. While the modern woman thinking makes us more comfortable, there is also a bit of disappointment not to get authentic. This is probably the best of both. Hope you like it!

Debbie Haupt
Debbie Haupt
4 years ago

Great review Sophia Rose glad you decided to stick with it!!

Sophia Rose
4 years ago
Reply to  Debbie Haupt

Me, too. I would have missed out on probably one of my better HR reads of the year.

4 years ago

Oh I adore the marriage trope..this sounds delicious!!

Sophia Rose
4 years ago

It was done well, I thought. I like this trope, too.

4 years ago

I do like her books

Sophia Rose
4 years ago
Reply to  Blodeuedd

They are hit or miss for me, but this one was definitely a hit.

Anna@herding cats&burning soup

Yeah for the first blogger shame read! That is an interesting issue with her secret and all of the issues that arose from it. I’ve read one of hers and had some trouble getting into it at first but then it totally won me over too 😀 I need to try some others for sure.

Sophia Rose
4 years ago

Yep, my first one. I hope to really get that pile thinned out. 🙂

Her stories are hit or miss for me. I’ve read around ten or so and liked about half. I can’t peg what causes that.

Carole's Random Life
4 years ago

I have several of her books but I don’t think that I have read any of them yet. This one does sound good and I haven’t read a historical in a while. Great review!

Sophia Rose
4 years ago

LOL! I have books on my shelf like that. Ha, this was one of them. 🙂

I was glad I got to read this one. If you get the chance, Carole, hope you like it, too.

Anna@herding cats&burning soup

Yeah for the first blogger shame read! That is an interesting issue with her secret and all of the issues that arose from it. I’ve read one of hers and had some trouble getting into it at first but then it totally won me over too 😀 I need to try some others for sure.