Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Duke’s Daughters, #4
Release Date: April 30, 2019
Lady Della Howlett is the disgraced eldest daughter of the Duke of Marymount, years ago she ran off with her dance master and had a child. When her lover ran off, she was taken in by Sarah Wattings and she planned to never return to her family – but her sisters had other ideas and convinced her to return to London. She is not welcomed by her parents, but her sisters and their husbands helped her and Sarah buy a house and now she wants nothing more than to reunite Sarah with her husband Henry. When she learns that the captain of the last ship Henry was on is in town, she wastes no time finding him.
Griffin Davies, Viscount Stanbury is in a dockside pub when Della stalks in wielding a hatpin and demanding answers – when he saves her from an ugly confrontation, she learns he is the man she is looking for – but before she can get answers – he is arrested and taken away. Griffin is in a bit a trouble over his actions on his last voyage – but when his old friend Robson shows up and gets him out, he learns that his life is about to change – he walked away from his life of privilege years ago and hasn’t been back since – but much has changed and he learns that he is the heir presumptive to the Duke of Northam and that the duke, his cousin Fredrick is ill and expects Griffin to take up the duties of the dukedom immediately – it is overwhelming and when Della shows up at the Duke’s home the next day – Griffin strikes a bargain with her.
Griffin will help her find Henry, but he wants her to pretend to be his betrothed to keep the marriage-mined Mamas and title hungry debutantes away from him – she tells him that she is not welcomed in society, but that just makes him want her more. They strike an agreement and Della is a little surprised to find herself attracted to the arrogant man – she thought she was done with men, but since you can’t be ruined twice, she suggests they add an affair to their bargain and so it begins…
I thought this was a 5 star read right up until the last 3 chapters, then I wanted to smack Della and tell Griffin to grow a set – I was enjoying the story immensely, it was well written, flowed nicely, it was amusing and there was great chemistry between them and then it devolved into some weird Dom/Sub thing. Don’t get me wrong, I like strong, resilient, independent heroines – but Della came off as a little hypocritical – she can’t have anyone help her – but she can help others? Combine that with the fact Griffin never met her daughter, the incorrect formal address and the unresolved legal problem Griffin had at the beginning and the rating for this book dropped. I also have to wonder – where did Griffin get his title? His father was the Duke’s brother – so his title would be his honorific of Lord Firstname and Griffin would just be plain Mr. Davies – so where did the title of Viscount come from?? Even as the heir presumptive, he wouldn’t have a courtesy title – it is little things like this that just niggle at my brain and demand answers – did he have the title bestowed by the Queen for something? No idea and I guess I’ll never know – SIGH. This is the fourth book in the series, but it could easily be read as a standalone and if you have been following the series – you will definitely want to read this one!
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an Uncorrected eARC that was provided to me by Edelweiss and the publisher.*