The Duke’s Disaster by Grace Burrowes
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Published & Release Date: Sourcebooks, April 7, 2015
Time and setting: 1822 England
Genre: Historical Romance
Length: 448 pages
Heat Level: 1.5 Scorching Hot Flames
Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns
Noah Winters, Duke of Anselm, exercises the pragmatism for which he's infamous when his preferred choice of bride cries off, and her companion, Lady Thea Collins, becomes his next choice for his duchess. Lady Thea's mature, sensible and even rather attractive-what could possibly go wrong?
As a lady fallen on hard times, Thea doesn't expect tender sentiments from His Grace, but she does wish Noah had courted her trust, lest her past turn their hastily arranged marriage into a life of shared regrets. Is His Grace courting a convenient wife, or a beautiful disaster?
I have been a fan of Grace Burrowes ever since I read her debut novel, The Heir. When I had the opportunity to receive an ARC from the publisher for The Duke’s Disaster, I immediately took advantage of it. As always Ms. Burrows has penned a story of tender romance and unforgettable characters.
Noah Winters, the Duke of Anselm is on the hunt for a bride. When his endeavors run afoul with securing the hand of Viscount Endmon’s daughter, he turns to her companion, Lady Araminthea Collins and offers for her instead. With the season soon be at an end, Noah does not want to face the next year’s gaggle of giggling debutants to meet the promise he gave to his grandfather.
Lady Thea is surprised by his proposal, but with a younger sister to worry over, she considers accepting when the duke offer to give Nonie a generous dowry. She requests time to consider his offer, and Anselm gives it to her.
Several days later, Anselm discovers Corbett, the heir to Viscount Endmon, accosting Thea and rushes her to the altar posthaste. Within three days of accepting his offer, she finds herself a bride and on her way to his estate.
Lady Thea has a secret and cannot find a private moment to tell the duke she is impure before the wedding. She desperately hopes he will not hold it against her. After all, he is far from pure himself. Of course men tend to look at the matter differently, but it is his fault for not giving her a chance to tell him.
Although Thea tries repeatedly to tell him prior to consummation, Anselm never gives her a chance. When the duke discovers her state on their wedding night, needless to say, he is very disappointed, but bucks up, determined to make the best of it.
Will Anselm ever be able to forgive her, or is Lady Thea destined to live her life in a loveless union, never having the affection the duke shows to everyone else around him?
I thoroughly enjoyed The Duke’s Disaster. Ms. Burrowes gives me characters to care about, and this story pulled me in from the first page, keeping me reading well into the night. Even though this is a long book, the pacing is such that it felt like a much shorter read. In fact I was quite surprised when I went to retrieve the page count to include in my review and learned it was well over 400 pages long.
For me that is definitely a sign of a well-written novel.
This is a classic tale of a marriage of convenience with a twist. As the story unfolds, Ms. Burrowes masterfully weaves in the backstory in such a way that as the reader, I am not even aware she is doing it, another sign of a well-written story. Not only does the author bring to life the hero and the heroine, she does this with the secondary cast of characters as well.
I particularly enjoyed the duke’s character. Anselm has an endearing personality with his willingness to move beyond the disaster of Thea’s impurity. Instead of holding it against her, he comforts her, believing that there is more to this than she has admitted to. I loved his tender caring of Thea, whether in the bedroom or out.
This is another shining example of Grace Burrowes’s ability to write a character-driven tale of growing love against less than desirable circumstances. I highly recommend this book, and I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I did. Happy reading!
The Duke and Duchess are having a rocky start to their marriage, also to their day…
“Your tea, Duchess.”
Noah had woken up beside his wife—again, despite all plans to the contrary—creating another first for him. Thea had risen several times during the night to tend to herself. He hadn’t realized that monthly courses caused a woman’s rest to be interrupted.
Crashingly bad planning, for a lady’s sleep to be disturbed when she most needed rest.
“You’re not about to steal my tea?” Thea held out the cup, her gaze shy as she sat propped against the headboard.
“Where’s the fun in stealing what’s freely offered?” Noah settled in beside her and filched a bite of her cinnamon toast. “Would you rather have chocolate this morning?”
“You’re”— Noah waved a hand in the direction of her middle—“indisposed.”
“I am not indisposed.” Thea set her teacup down with a little clink. “The discomfort has passed, as it always does. You needn’t be concerned.”
“I am not concerned, Thea.” Not greatly concerned, now that she’d stopped ordering him to go away and was ready for a proper spat. “I am attempting in my bumbling way to dote. You will allow it.”
Drat. He’d given another order.
“You couldn’t bumble if one gave you written instructions, Anselm,” Thea said, looking a little less peaked for having run up her flags. “That was my toast you appropriated.”
“Appropriation is what happens when one’s wife can’t appreciate a little doting. You’re being stingy with the tea, just as you were stingy with the covers. How long does this indisposition last?”
Her chin came up. “I am the Duchess of Anselm. I am not stingy with anything, but you are a very presuming husband.”
“Doting.” Noah took Thea’s free hand to kiss her knuckles— lest she mistake his point. “Also in need of my duchess’s guidance on this one marital matter.”
“This is so personal.” Thea’s gaze was on their joined hands— for Noah would not have her haring off in a fit of mortification. “I didn’t think you’d be a personal sort of husband. You were supposed to appear in my dressing-room doorway a few nights a month, silently take a few marital liberties, and then leave me in peace. We’d trade sections of the Times over breakfast the next morning.”
“Prosaic.” Boring and exactly what Noah himself had envisioned. “Hard to see any doting going on, though.”
“Husband?” Thea’s tone was hesitant. “Thank you, for keeping me company last night. I would not have known how to ask.”
“I suppose that’s the definition of doting.” Noah lingered at the cart to assemble a plate. “It’s the little things you can’t bring yourself to ask for, that an attentive spouse will enjoy providing to you. Bacon or ham?”
“A little of both, please.”
“I’m a trifle indisposed. I need the sustenance.”
Noah piled both ham and bacon on Thea’s plate, and stole better than half of it, because he needed the sustenance too.
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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes' bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish and Lady Eve's Indiscretion. The Heir was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010, The Soldier was a PW Best Spring Romance of 2011, Lady Sophie's Christmas Wish won Best Historical Romance of the Year in 2011 from RT Reviewers' Choice Awards, Lady Louisa's Christmas Knight was a Library Journal Best Book of 2012, and The Bridegroom Wore Plaid was a PW Best Book of 2012. Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.
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