Barbara’s Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Series: Desperately Seeking Duke #1
Publication Date: 6/30/20
Number of Pages: 384
Yikes! The Carlyle dukedom is in danger and the duchess is desperately seeking out possible heirs. Her older son, the duke, is sickly and has a very limited mental capacity – he certainly cannot marry and father children. That wasn’t such a problem until both of her younger sons died – one in the Army and the has just died of an unfortunate accident before he could marry and have children. The dukedom’s solicitor, Mr. Edwards, has been diligently searching for the heirs – because the duchess wants them to learn the ways of the dukedom before they have to take over. Three possible heirs have been identified and none of them make the duchess happy. One of them is a Frenchman, one is in the army, and the last is a cardsharp. Our current story features the cardsharp, Maximilian St. James.
Max had no desire to be under the duchesses thumb, but he was grateful for the money she handed him and for the promise of the yearly payout he would receive from the dukedom. Well, except that yearly payout came with strings – he had to become respectable and be on his good behavior. The judgment about whether he was respectable, of course, was the duchesses. Max didn’t care for that at all. Max has always wanted to be independent, but life circumstances just never allowed that. He had to make his life the best way he could. Now, he has a bold plan and he is so excited about the possibility of making his own future.
Max was introduced to Mr. Samuel Tate, owner of Perusia, a fine pottery factory when he was in London. Mr.Tate was impressed with Max and his relationship to the ton and subsequently invited him to visit Perusia. Mr. Tate had no sons and when Max presented him with a partnership proposal – as well as a proposal of marriage for Mr. Tate’s oldest daughter, Cathy, Mr. Tate was thrilled. Cathy, the sweet, docile daughter wasn’t thrilled though and promptly eloped with the man she did love. OOPS!
There was nothing sweet nor docile about Bianca Tate – Cathy’s only sister. Bianca, who was every bit as stubborn and pig-headed as her father, was furious that he’d just sell out his daughter like that. So, when Bianca discovered Cathy packing to run away with the man she loved, Bianca decided to help her. What Bianca didn’t expect was to end up having to marry Max in Cathy’s place!
I absolutely adored both Max and Bianca. Max was determined to win his wife’s affections and Bianca was determined to despise Max no matter what he did. It was so much fun watching Max slowly, but steadily, destroying all of Bianca’s defenses.
One of the most refreshing things about this story was that it wasn’t set in London among the ton. Yes, there were several titles involved, but they weren’t the focus. The focus of the story was Max and Bianca and I felt as if I really got to know them. The romance felt real and I could genuinely feel that they were in love. Also included in my ebook was a short novella featuring Lawrence, who is Max’s valet. It was a really sweet story as well.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am already looking forward to the second book in the series – A Scot To The Heart – which features the army officer – Captain Andrew St. James of his majesty’s Scotts Guards.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.