Barbara’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: Duke Dynasty #3
Publication Date: 8/25/20
Number of Pages: 352
Ah! The plot thickens! This is a series with an overarching mystery/villain and there has been nary a real hint about who that might be – until this book. There are still only hints and conjectures, but we can see the solution coming. While you could read this as a stand-alone book, you might have a bit of confusion about the overall storyline. I’ll give you a quick overview of the series scenario and you can decide whether reading this as a standalone is for you.
We meet – and love – the five children of a duchess who has had three husbands – all dukes. She had one child, Fletcher (Grey)(Project Duchess), with her first husband; two children – twins – Marlowe (Thorn)(Who Wants To Marry A Duke) and Gwyn (The Bachelor) with her second husband; two children, Sheridan and Heywood (in the anthology Seduction On A Snowy Night) with her last husband. The series revolves around the untimely deaths of those three husbands. Were they murdered or were all of them just horrible mishaps? We get some definite answers in this book – and maybe the solution will come in Sheridan’s book since I assume that will be the final book in the series.
Marlowe Drake (Thorn), the Duke of Thornstock, is the most secretive, skittish, and distrusting of the duchess’s children. He’d always felt separated from English society because he was raised more in Prussia than in England. When he was very young, his mother married the English Ambassador to Prussia and so, the children were mostly raised there. Marlowe’s mannerisms, phraseology, etc. were more Germanic than English, so he never felt he fit in. At twenty-one, he was newly in London and his older brother Grey warned him about grasping mama’s who would do anything to ensnare a handsome young duke for their equally grasping daughters. Immediately on the heels of that warning, he stepped into what he assumed was one of those very traps and ended up being forced to make an offer for a girl he’d just met. When the girl then refused him, he was incensed and he’s held a grudge against both of them for the last nine years. The blackmail used against him in that trap immediately soured his views on love and marriage.
Olivia Norley is a chemist. It is all she’s ever wanted to be. She has no interest in love or marriage. When she realized the young duke was being forced, by her mother, to offer for her, she immediately refused his offer. Her mother was furious with her, but Olivia was adamant. She certainly didn’t want any man who was forced to offer for her – especially not one who looked as thunderous as this one.
Thorn and Olivia never encountered each other again for nine years. Olivia felt as out of place in society as Thorn and she just didn’t participate. So, when she and Thorn are thrown together because Grey has engaged her services to determine if his late father was poisoned, sparks – both good and bad – fly.
I loved Thorn’s acceptance of Olivia and who she was. It didn’t bother him that she didn’t fit in – he didn’t either. I loved their working together to solve the question of the poisoning and I loved how protective Thorn was – even when he thought he didn’t like Olivia.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and this book and I hope you will as well. It is well-plotted, well written, and the characters are interesting and very likable.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.