Monday, April 4, 2016

"The Reluctant Duchess" by Roseanna M White - Suspense and romance in Edwardian Britain

Cover ArtIn the second Ladies of the Manor book, Rowena Kinnaird, heiress of her father's earldom, is desperate to flee the abuse she has suffered. When Brice Myerston, Duke of Nottingham, stays at his neighboring estate, devising a way to hide a pair of notorious, highly sought-after jewels, he gets thrust into a scheme to protect Rowena. Can he rescue her from the danger of her home? And if he does that, can he protect her from the danger following the jewels?

Wow, this book has it all--suspense, romance, strong spiritual themes, historical details; all packed into a deliciously captivating story that ranges in location from the Scottish Highlands to the moors of northern England.

Mystery there is not (well, not much, anyway), but suspense there certainly is as we watch to see when, how, and who will make a play to steal the jewels. To what lengths will they go to get their hands on them? And what will Rowena and Brice suffer in the attempt?

I really appreciate the work the author put into making Rowena's father more than just an abusive jerk. Buried under his anger and stubbornness is a man who loves his daughter but is miserable at showing it. It doesn't excuse his very wrong behavior, but it makes him more real. Redeemable. And even Catherine Pratt, the alleged villainness of The Lost Heiress, has redeeming qualities--enough to make one wonder if maybe we've been wrong about her after all.

Normally I scorn cast of characters lists at the the beginning of a book, but in this case, especially for the first chapter or two, it was really helpful. With so many Scottish Kinnairds, and various British nobility with five (okay, two or three) names/titles, it's helpful for keeping track of who is who. I guess the blame for the confusion belongs to the British who came up with such a complicated naming system, rather than the author who is trying to make it comprehensible for us ignorant Americans.

Highly recommended; I can't wait for the final book! 5 out of 5 stars!

Thank you Bethany House for providing a free book to review; I was not required to make the review positive, and all opinions are my own.

Ladies of the Manor
1. The Lost Heiress
2. The Reluctant Duchess
3. A Lady Unrivaled 

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