Barbara’s rating: 3 of 5 stars
Series: Devilish Dukes #1
Publication Date: 4/2/19
Number of Pages: 250
I always love the stories this author has to tell and this one is no exception. The story and the characters are great. So, you are wondering why I gave it only 3-stars aren’t you? I love historical romance, but I want it to be accurate within the societal norms and context of the times and this isn’t anywhere close to that. There are so very many issues …
Lady Georgiana is the daughter of a very rich and very influential baron and she married way below her station. Her husband was a commoner, an inventor and very poor. They worked together to develop a steam-powered pumper to help put out fires. The invention wasn’t complete when Daniel (her husband) died in an accident, so Georgiana spent the next year perfecting the pumper herself. It is all ready to go and she’s brought it to London to try to sell units and find a wealthy investor.
In order to get her parents to agree to her bringing the pumper and storing it at their home, Georgiana had to agree to accompany her mother to various social engagements during the season. She could do that if it allowed her the opportunity to demonstrate her pumper and find appropriate investors. Her first showing at the Southwark Fair was a total disaster. Not because the pumper didn’t work – but because they were short-handed and the hose got away from them. That loose hose ended up aimed at the Duke of Evesham and doused him with two-hundred gallons of high-pressure water. Oops!
Fletcher Markham, the Duke of Evesham, lost his mother in a house fire and he’s been looking to find a viable steam pressure pumper for years. Now, he’s furious because he’s just seen yet another scam of a machine and it thoroughly doused him. He told the woman that she should just throw the thing in the Thames.
Later, Fletcher meets Georgiana in a social setting and he doesn’t recognize her from the pumper demonstration. He’s very drawn to her – and she’s very skittish. She recognizes him. As he pursues her and she knows he doesn’t know who she is, they begin to draw closer.
I really enjoyed the adventures of Georgiana and Fletcher finding their HEA. It wasn’t a smooth road nor an easy one for them – but it was a truly lovely story.
The same story could have been told using correct period norms and I would have happily given a 5-star rating – and that accuracy wouldn’t have taken a thing away from the story. Within the first 5% of the book, there is a scene describing the old duke summoning his lawyers to his deathbed and ‘legitimizing’ his twenty-six-year-old illegitimate son – because he has no other sons. So, he legitimizes this son and declares him his ‘legal heir’. That just couldn’t have happened – laws of primogeniture wouldn’t have allowed it. There were so very many other things that were just so much more modern – like everybody’s comfort with Fletcher entering Georgiana’s bedchamber, women business-people conducting business at social events – well, just many things that could have easily been done correctly to the period without detracting from the story. Then – there is feeling the baby flutter – like bubbles – at two-months pregnant.
Bottom line – if you don’t care about period accuracy (but then why read historical?), then this will be a 5-star read for you because the story is really good.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.