An Affair in Autumn (A Year without a Duke, book 4) by Jennifer Haymore
Publisher & Release Date: Self-Published, February 1, 2016
Time and setting: 1816, England, America
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency
Length: 106 pages
Heat Level: 2 Flames
Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns
Caroline Addison, Lady Whytestone, has important news to deliver to her old friend--he has inherited a dukedom! He could be in New York or perhaps in South America, but no matter. Caro is an independent woman, so who says she can't indulge in a little adventure and travel across the Atlantic--and maybe across a continent--to find him?
On a mission to locate the new Duke of Beckworth, Lord Markus Hawkins has boarded a ship bound for America. But when Mark walks out of his cabin and runs into his nemesis, Caroline Addison, who happens to be in search of the very same man, his head threatens to explode out of sheer frustration. Caro is headstrong, frustrating, selfish, wickedly intelligent, and so damn beautiful, Mark can't see anything but her when she's near. How's he going to survive the long voyage ahead?
Over the years, Caro and Mark have run the gamut from dear friends to bitter enemies. Now, in the close quarters of a sailing ship, sparks fly as old feelings return to the surface and new ones begin to simmer inside. Caro and Mark are headed for America, for the new duke, and for something that might be the love of a lifetime. But only if they don't destroy each other first.
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I received An Affair in Autumn in advance of publication in exchange for an honest review and could not wait to read it. As always, I was not disappointed. Jennifer Haymore has again captured my mind with another spellbinding story set in the Regency period. I discovered Ms. Haymore when I read her debut novel A Hint of Wicked, and I have been hooked 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 impatiently for the release date!
Caroline Addison, Lady Whytestone, finds out her childhood friend is heir to a dukedom. As an independent young widow, she does not bat an eye at setting out on a transatlantic trip to New York, her friend’s last known residence.
After ascertaining his friend’s possible location, Lord Markus Hawkins is determined to find him and boards a ship bound for America. When he is confronted with Caro’s presence on the ship, he is not happy. Other than the day when he inquired after his friend, they haven’t seen each other in more than ten years and had parted bitterly.
As the pair travel to their destination, the passion becomes too much for them to ignore. Can Caro and Mark find a way to mend their estrangement, or will hurt feelings and misconceptions keep them apart?
I enjoy friends to lovers romances, especially when the friendship goes back to the characters’ childhood. This book is a delight to read. The plot is very believable, and I fell in love with the main characters from the start of the tale. The chemistry between Caro and Mark jumps off the page. Ms. Haymore is a master at building sexual tension.
I thoroughly enjoyed Caro’s character. Normally, I’m not fond of extremely independent women, but this heroine touched by heart. She had endured a loveless marriage for ten long years and is finally released from bondage. I loved the opening scene where she is spending some of her late husband’s vast fortune on charities he would detest. She couldn’t get back at him while he lived, but she could surely have him rolling in his grave. I liked the way she approached life and her determination to find her friend.
I met Mark in The Duchess Hunt, a book I adored. He is the brother to Simon, the Duke of Kent and has a very sad backstory. Five years have passed since the setting for that particular book, and he has spent the years traveling, trying to run from his shameful secret. When he at last opens up to Caro and shares his deepest hurt, my heart ached and tears stung my eyes.
While this is a fairly short book, Ms. Haymore is able to fully flesh out her characters, making them come alive on the pages of this story. Her vivid description of the ship and crew members helped me become enmeshed with the tale. When the ship is hit by a terrible storm, I sat on the edge of my seat as the scene unfolded. I could almost feel the rain slashing down upon them.
I am so glad I had the opportunity to read An Affair in Autumn. If you enjoy a well-written emotionally-charged regency, then you will love this book as much as I did. I definitely look forward to reading the last book in this series, A Duke by December by Sabrina Darby. It has Nathaniel Hughes as the hero, the long sought after heir to the dukedom. He is introduced at the end of An Affair in Autumn, and I think his story line will be vastly entertaining. Happy reading!