My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Stand Alone
Publication Date: 5/15/18
What a delightful concept – none of the heroes are titled gentlemen. As a matter of fact, all of them seem to have a distinct dislike, for some or all, of the titled, privileged folks of the ton. Include that three of my favorite authors (Grace Burrowes, Kelly Bowen and Anna Harrington) wrote the stories and you have a keeper. I really do have to congratulate a couple of the authors on the names they chose for their dukes – Riddington (because they wanted to get rid of him?) Pomperly (because he was pompous?) Sorry, those names just tickled my fancy.
Architect of My Dreams by Grace Burrowes – 3.5 Stars
I enjoyed this story but thought it was a bit too modern for the time in which it is set.
The Dowager Duchess of Tindale is twenty-eight years old and free from a less than happy marriage. Her husband didn’t mistreat her, he was just oblivious to her. He married her for one reason only – her money and to produce an heir. She feels guilty because she never produced that heir – and now he is gone. However, she really likes his cousin who inherited the title – he always treated her with fondness and respect.
Eugenia ‘Genie’, Dowager Duchess of Tindale, has absolutely had it with her new neighbor in Mayfair. He’s building a gentleman’s club and there is constant hammering, shouting, banging and all of the other sounds of construction going on at all hours. So, the tiny little woman marches out her door and into his yard and confronts him. The ensuing conversation is wonderful as she takes him to task.
Three days later, she has traveled to Brighton – only to discover that her noisy neighbor is there as well. There is an instant attraction and they spend time together and come to love each other. However, there is a very nasty fly in the ointment. Someone else wants to marry her (for her money, of course) and has threatened to ruin the man who inherited her former husband’s title as well as her neighbor, Adam Morecambe.
The solution is delightful and there is even an epilogue – I just love epilogues – and this one is just perfect.
Pursuit of Honor by Kelly Bowen – 4 Stars
Diana Thompson and Oliver Graham were childhood friends who did everything together. Oliver’s family had contracted a betrothal for him with Hannah when they were just children. So, Oliver and Diana always knew he’d marry someone else – but – well – they were only friends anyway. Oliver leaves England to pursue his fortune and is gone for ten years. When he returns, he learns that his sister disappeared six years ago and he is determined to find her. The only clue he has is that, at one point, she was in Brighton.
Oliver travels to Brighton to find his sister and sees Diana at a ball. It is a funny scene because Diana looks as if she is having a conversation with a potted plant. She is really talking to Hannah who does NOT want to see Oliver. She’s not happy with the betrothal.
Diana has long been pursued by a duke (Riddington) who is determined to make Diana his mistress. Diana refuses him, but he won’t take no for an answer. This same duke also hates Oliver – so you can imagine that he wants to thwart the growing recognition of love between Diana and Oliver.
Of course, there is also the little matter of Hannah. How can Diana and Oliver pursue their love and still be honorable toward Hannah? Well – turns out Hannah solves that little issue for them.
All seems lost when Oliver leaves Diana to punish the man who seduced his sister. However, we have all learned how clever and resourceful Oliver is. Oliver’s way of punishing the seducer is absolutely priceless. You will love it!
The Double Duchess by Anna Harrington 4-Stars
This is a lovely, poignant, second-chances love story.
Maxwell Thorpe is the son, but not the heir, of a minor baron and he has to make his own way in the world. He joins the army and is gravely injured early on and is sent to the Royal Hospital in Brighton to heal. While there, he meets and falls in love with Belinda who is all heart, filled with sweetness. She helps heal his soul as well as his body. The wondrous thing is – Belinda loves Maxwell as much as he loves her.
After release from the hospital, Maxwell is posted to India. He receives two letters on the same day – one is from Belinda begging him to come home and save her from having to marry someone else in order to save her family from ruin – the second one is from the brother of a duke, who asks Maxwell to please give Belinda up because he wants to offer for her and he promises that he will do all in his power to see that Belinda has everything in life. Maxwell knew that he didn’t have the money to save her family and that if he married her and brought her with him, she’d be living in poverty. So, he makes the hardest decision he’s ever – or will ever – make. He writes to Belinda and tells her that the army is his life and she should forget him.
Belinda marries the duke’s brother – and he later becomes the duke. He does all in his power to make Belinda’s life happy and when he dies, he leaves her a very wealthy woman. Belinda has always loved Maxwell – no matter what – but she hates him. He betrayed her at the worst time in her life.
As Belinda walks into a meeting at the Royal Hospital in Brighton she is shocked and dismayed to see Maxwell across the table. Her anger flares and then gets even hotter when she finds out why he is at her beloved hospital. She’ll fight him tooth and nail to keep him from succeeding in his mission.
You’ll love both Belinda and Maxwell. Their love was truly epic and it was wonderful to see how they worked their way back toward each other. The fact that they thwarted another duke (Pomperly) in the process just puts the icing on the cake.
These lovely stories are all well written and complete within themselves. The only thing that would have made it better would have been a group epilogue showing all of the couples at a get together a year or so later than the stories in the book. Maybe a re-visit to Brighton for all of them – and all of them with babies and happy family stories.
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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”