Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Duchess Hunt by Jennifer Haymore


Simon Hawkins, duke of Trent, is no stranger to scandal. Rumors and innuendo have darkened the House of Trent for decades, and it has fallen to Simon to restore his tattered family name. He lives by a strict code of honor, but when he is called home to investigate his mother's disappearance, the distinguished duke will tangle with temptation. For there waits the only woman he has ever loved-and the last woman he should desire . . .

Sarah Osborne has spent her life dreaming of Simon's touch. But dukes do not long for lady's maids-or so Sarah believes, until a stolen kiss sparks a passion that could be her ultimate undoing. As the couple begins a forbidden romance, a cunning enemy plots to destroy the duke and everything he loves. Now, caught in a blackmailer's web, Simon faces an agonizing choice: sacrifice his family's future or break Sarah's heart. 

Published & Release Date: Forever, Hachette Book Group, June 25, 2013

Time and setting: Regency England

Genre: Historical Romance

Heat Level: 2

Reviewer rating: 5 Gold Crowns

Reviewed by Vikki

I recently came across a review of The Duchess Hunt that I had written a while back and wanted to share it with you. Keep in mind that I read this book almost eighteen months ago, and it is as fresh in my mind now as if I had just finished it. 

Jennifer Haymore has again captured my mind with another spellbinding story set in the Regency period. I discovered Ms. Haymore's books when I read her debut novel A Hint of Wicked, and I have been hook ever since. When I see a new release from her, I do not even take the time to read the book blurb. I hit one click and pre-order it for my Kindle, and then wait very impatiently for the release date!

Thirteen year old, Simon Hawkins, the Duke of Kent, befriends an eight year old girl, Sarah Osbourne, when she gets tangled up with a blackberry bush. Even though she is the gardener's daughter, he does not hesitate and takes Sarah home to his mother. The duchess cleans her scratches and dries her tears, then takes Sarah under her wing and even allows her to be educated with her own children. Through the ensuing years, Simon and Sarah become close friends.

Years later, when Simon’s mother turns up missing, he turns to Sarah, asking her to accompany his shy sister, Esme, to London as her companion and to help in the search for the duchess. The sparks fly between Simon and Sarah. Their affection for each other cannot be denied, but because of the difference in class, a marriage is not possible, or so they believe.

Unable to resist each other, they give into their desire and passion ignites, but then Lord Stanley approaches, revealing several very dark secrets that could destroy Simon’s family and threatens to reveal all to the ton unless he marries his daughter. Will Simon turn his back on Sarah and marry Lord Stanley’s daughter, or will he be brave enough to stand tall in the face of scandal and declare his love and devotion for Sarah?

Jennifer Haymore paints a vivid picture of the hypocrisy of London society, with their flagrant affairs and decadent life style through deeply moving emotional characters. I became so enthralled with this story that I just could not put it down and when I had to, the story kept running through my mind, keeping me anxious to return to this engrossing tale. It was as if I became Sarah and what she was experiencing. I adore that when it happens.

One of the things I love best about historical romance is the sexual tension between the hero and the heroine, and this author is a master at building that tension. The intensity of emotion with this couple moved me to tears several times. My heart ached for Sarah when she believes she must never see Simon again.

This book is very well written, which has not been the case with some of the other regencies I have read recently. I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful story, and I highly recommend this unforgettable book. This will go on my keeper shelf, because I will definitely want to return for another visit with these compelling characters and the unique story line.

If you enjoy becoming completely enmeshed in a book with a character-driven plot, then this is one you will not want to miss. Happy reading!

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