The Desperate Duke by Sheri Cobb South

The Desperate Duke (Weaver Book 4)The Desperate Duke by Sheri Cobb South
Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Weaver #4
Publication Date: 12/15/18
Number of Pages: 180

This delightful addition to the Weaver series is excellently written, well-plotted and the characters are fully relatable. I adored our hero’s growth toward maturity and responsibility and fully appreciated Sir Ethan Brundy’s hand in making that happen. Oh! And lest I forget, the book has one of my favorite things – an epilogue. This epilogue is really, really special, so you’ll have to be sure to read that – because I’m not going to tell you about it.

This is the fourth book in the series and I have not read the first three so I can tell you that it can easily be read as a stand-alone. However, reading this one just made me want to go back and read the earlier books – especially the first one, The Weaver Takes A Wife. The heroine in that book is the sister of the hero in this book and she and her husband make appearances in this story.

Theo is the typical spoiled, and aloof aristocrat who has no clue how the world works. He just knows that his every need and want is met – like magic. He never has to give a thought to how that happens or who provides it. He’s twenty-three, handsome, charming, and the heir to the Duke of Reddington. While his father is a bit of an ogre, Theo doesn’t want to lose him. However, that is exactly why he has been summoned from London – his father is dying. Theo doesn’t believe it because his father has pulled that stunt before only to be perfectly fine when Theo arrives. This time though, it is different – the doctor says that his father really only has a short time to live. Theo is in no way ready for that to happen.

After his father’s death and the funeral, Theo basically runs away. He is totally and completely overwhelmed by the demands of the dukedom. The estate steward goes over interminable lists of crop yields and repairs needed. Theo can’t handle it and heads for his horse and London – and the beginning of his troubles. He spends too much and gambles too deeply – and loses – and then discovers that he cannot touch a dime of his inheritance until the estate is totally through probate. How is he going to pay his debts? Well, luckily for him, he has a rich brother-in-law and Theo just knows that he will loan him the money. When his brother-in-law first says a flat-out NO, Theo is aghast. Finally, his brother-in-law agrees but puts a very tough stipulation on the loan. Can Theo meet those terms?

Miss Daphne Drinkard’s family is not titled, but she was born and raised as a gentlewoman. At least she was until her father died just before her Season and they discovered that the dedicated, loving, laughing, happy family man they thought him to be wasn’t real. He was a deep, hard gambler – cards, horses – he didn’t care. Except he usually lost. When he died, everything except their home had to be sold off to pay the debts. Daphne went from happily awaiting her Season to working with her mother in the boarding house they had to open. It distressed Daphne to see their lovely home turned into a boarding house and to have to give up the bedroom she had decorated herself. They were making do, but life wasn’t easy and there were certainly no prospects for a good marriage.

When Theo arrived at the boarding house he was in disguise as just a plain cotton mill worker. He was in second-hand clothes, but he was still handsome and the other boarders took to him right away. He and Daphne are drawn to each other, but he doesn’t have time for a relationship with the number of hours he’s putting in at the mill and Daphne’s mother won’t let her have anything to do with a common millworker.

Something is afoot with the workers at the mill, but Theo doesn’t know what. Whatever it is, it isn’t good and Theo knows that he must handle the issue because Sir Ethan isn’t answering his letter.

It was delightful to see Theo grow up and come to respect the lives that others lead. The shift in circumstance was so drastic – from privilege to millworker – that you could almost feel sorry for Theo. However, he handled it well and learned how to be a good human being and not just another wastrel aristocrat.

I thoroughly enjoyed this sweet, clean romance and I hope you will as well.

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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.”

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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