Project Duchess by Sabrina Jeffries

Project Duchess (Duke Dynasty, #1)Barbara’s rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Duke Dynasty #1
Publication Date: 6/25/19
Number of Pages: 352

This was an absolutely wonderful introduction to Sabrina Jeffries new series. There is an overall mystery to the series, I’ll not tell you what that is – but you’ll discover it in this book. We meet – and love – the five children of a duchess who has had three husbands – all dukes. She had one child, Fletcher (Grey), with her first husband; two children – twins – Marlowe (Thorn) and Gwyn with her second husband; two children, Sheridan and Heywood with her last husband. The series revolves around solving the mystery introduced in this book, the children learning more about their fathers, and each of them pursuing and finding their own HEA’s. I found each of them intriguing and can’t wait to get to know them better in their own stories. The next story (featuring Heywood) will be a novella, A PERFECT MATCH released in an anthology (Seduction on a Snowy Night) with authors Madeline Hunter and Mary Jo Putney. Then, in February of 2020, we get Gwyn’s story – The Bachelor.

Fletcher Pryde, the 5th Duke of Greycourt, had a lovely family life until he was ten years old. He lost his father when he was very young, so he didn’t remember him, nor does he really remember his first step-father. However, his second step-father created a happy, loving family for all of them. That idyllic family lasted until Grey was ten and the uncle his father had named as his guardian came to claim him. He even thought he might want to go with him. Then he saw his aunt and uncle’s true colors and his nightmare of a life began. He quickly walled off his heart and all emotions. He became cold and always, always in control. He also distanced himself from his family and had little interaction with them – even after his uncle died.

We first meet Grey as he’s receiving word that his step-father, Maurice, has died. He doesn’t want to, but he leaves for Armitage Hall. He’ll do his duty and then leave as soon as he can. However, he’s not prepared for what he finds when he gets there. He meets a sassy young woman standing in the hall and immediately starts making demands – as dukes do. She was having none of it and gave as good as she got. He had to wonder who that sharp-tongued woman was. Then, his brother arrived and introduced them. Uh-oh – he’d assumed she was a servant or merchant of some sort.

Beatrice Wolfe is the granddaughter of a duke, but she is penniless. She and her brother, Joshua, live in the dower house at Armitage Hall. Joshua was severely wounded in the Peninsular wars and he now acts as head gamekeeper for the estate. He is grouchy, uncommunicative, etc. – all those things we associate with PTSD today.

Beatrice has handled all of the arrangements for the funeral of her uncle, the Duke of Armitage, who has just died. She loves the family and wants to ease their way as much as possible. As she’s standing in the entryway arranging the funeral cookies, a man approaches and starts making demands and berating her. She knows he has to be the Duke of Greycourt just from what she’s heard of him. Well – he’s not going to speak to her that way.

Grey and Beatrice bicker right along with all of the other siblings in the house. It was so much fun to read because I’ve known big loving families who bickered just that way. Grey can’t believe he’s attracted to Beatrice – but he is – and he just won’t allow it. He’s in full control of himself and will absolutely not allow it. Right . . . We all know how that’s going to end.

With a mystery to solve, an acerbic brother to manage and a cruel aunt still reaching out to cause trouble, you begin to wonder if they can truly find their way to their HEA. Never fear, Grey is up to the task of assuaging Beatrice’s fears and concerns – it just takes him a while to get there.

This was an excellent read and I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Avid reader/reviewer of historical romance and historical mysteries.

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