The Duke Heist by Erica Ridley
Tracy’s rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Wild Wynchesters, #1
Release Date: February 9, 2021
The Wynchester siblings are on a mission to restore a family heirloom – a painting of Puck with 6 sprites – a painting the Wynchester siblings treasure above all else – as they view it as a family portrait of sorts. Purchased years ago, from the Duke of Faircliffe, it was the first thing they bought as a “family”. Chloe is one of the six children adopted by Baron Vanderbean “Bean”. But 8 months ago, the duke wanted it back and when they refused, he stole it – leaving a hideous Angel vase in its place, then to complicate matters, the duke died days later and his son, the new duke refused to see Bean and ignored all attempts to contact him. Sadly, Bean himself died a few weeks later and it seemed as if the painting was gone for good. But recently the siblings have learned that the new Duke is courting a Miss Philippa York and is planning on giving the painting to her as a courting gift.
Each of the six siblings has a “talent”, Bean loved each of the children and encouraged them to perfect and use those talents. He also and they mean to use those talents to restore the painting to its rightful place, even if they have to steal it! Chloe’s talent is the ability to go unnoticed, she is selected to go to the York’s house and swap out their painting with a forged painting created by their sister Marjorie. A mission she glad accepts for the family. Chloe forms a plan and attends Miss York’s book club meeting ready to make the exchange, she thinks she is prepared for every possible scenario – but what she didn’t anticipate is the duke!
Lawrence Gosling, the new Duke of Faircliffe has inherited a bankrupt estate and needs to marry for money as soon as possible, which is why he needs to impress Miss York. Her dowry is massive and enables him to save his dukedom from ruin. He arrives and presents the painting to a very unimpressed Miss York. When they all go to partake in refreshments, Chloe sets her plan in motion, exchanging the paintings and bolting from the house to her waiting carriage – which she drives herself when her brother is nowhere to be found, she sets out and then hears a voice from inside the carriage – Faircliffe! She is shocked, how did she end up abducting the duke? She manages to ditch him, but neither of them will be able to forget the encounter. Especially as she needs to return his Angel vase and keep him from learning the truth about the Baron’s heir.
This was a well-written, unique, and fun story. I really enjoyed the interaction between Faircliffe and Chloe, as well as the bond between the siblings. The plot of the story is a bit over the top and somewhat flamboyant and there is a lot of “setup” for future books, but in general it was fun without being fluffy and light without being silly. The book is chocked full of secrets, deception, surprises, wonderful secondary characters, warm love scenes, emotion, and of course a HEA. This is the first book in a series that promises to be anything but your typical historical romance read. I am happy to recommend this title as I really enjoyed this book and am eagerly awaiting the next installment!
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. *