Series: The Duke’s Bastards #1
Publication Date: 5/19/20
Number of Pages: 240
This is a wonderful start to a new series. The main characters are both so very likable and so perfect for each other. I also love that the bastards are the illegitimate offspring of the former Duke of Roseford who was a cruel and profligate man who left children everywhere. Robert Smithson, the new Duke of Roseford, featured in Duke of Desire, has continued to support those half-brothers and sisters and wants to form a closer bond with them. This is the story of Morgan Banfield who seems to have inherited all of the wildness and penchant for trouble his father had. We also meet Selina Oliver a half-sister and there is mention of half-brother Nicholas Gillingham, so I assume we’ll get their stories in later books. So, all-in-all it is a great start to the series.
Morgan was out for a night of drinking, gambling, and wenching when he came across a man who had once been a close friend – but Morgan had wronged him. Morgan didn’t deal well with that encounter and drank and gambled more and more and more – until he awoke in Newgate gaol. As he is awakening in the filth and smell of the prison, he hears the voice of his half-brother, Robert, and groans. Robert gets him out of jail and then coerces him into working for Hugh Margolis, the Duke of Brighthollow, as his Man of Affairs. Morgan doesn’t know if he is up to the job or not but thinks he might be ready for some changes in his life.
Elizabeth (Lizzie) Margolis is shy, but she’s also filled with self-doubt. She doesn’t trust her judgment – her decisions – and she certainly doesn’t trust most males, especially those who are rakes and libertines. When she learns that one is coming to work for her brother, she is beside herself. How could Hugh do that? Then, when the rogue arrives, he is her worst nightmare – he’s handsome as sin and charming as the devil. She’s drawn to him despite her best efforts. Did she not already learn that lesson? Evidently not, because the attraction only grows.
When Morgan is tasked with helping Lizzie execute her mother’s plans for the garden, they get to know each other better. As they grow together, they share the secrets of their pasts – and then Morgan’s shows up to haunt them. Will that make them realize how much they love each other – or will their future be lost before it even begins?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and loved getting to catch up with some of the Dukes from the 1797 Club series. As mentioned above, there is Robert and Katherine (The Duke of Desire), Hugh and Amelia (The Duke Who Lied), and my very favorite, Ewan and Charlotte (The Silent Duke). However, what I really loved was the romance between Morgan and Lizzie because they complemented each other so well. Each brought their own kind of strength to the relationship and they each made the other stronger.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.