The Duke’s Runaway Bride
From shopkeeper… To Duke’s wife
When Beatrix, Duchess of Howden, writes to her estranged husband offering a divorce, she’s stunned when he arrives on her doorstep with a different proposition: a six-week marriage trial! Quinton Roxbury seems cold and inscrutable, but Beatrix gradually realizes his rough exterior hides a heavy burden. As their connection deepens, dare she trust him with her scandalous past and risk the marriage she never knew she wanted?
Jenni Fletcher was born in Scotland and now lives in Yorkshire where she writes historical romance novels ranging from the Roman to late Victorian eras. She studied English at Cambridge and Hull and has been nominated for 4 RONA awards, winning for Short Romantic Fiction in 2020. She teaches Creative Writing at a university in the north of England and her favorite hobbies are baking and, of course, reading.
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Tracy’s rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Series: Belles of Bath, #3
Release Date: February 23, 2021
Months after being taken in and becoming one of the “Belles”, Belinda Carr finally faces her past and writes a letter, hoping to put Beatrix “Bea” Roxbury, the Duchess of Howden to rest and move on with her new life. She does know what to expect from her estranged husband – but having him turn up in Bath a couple of days later was not even on the list!
Quinton “Quin” Roxbury, the Duke of Howden is no stranger to scandal, but when Beatrix, the heiress he married and then who fled mere hours after the ceremony, finally contacts him and demands a divorce – that is a scandal he would rather not have his family endure. He goes to Bath to negotiate with her, hoping to avoid destroying what little standing his family still has. But the woman he finds in Bath is nothing like the quiet, mousey woman he married.
Bea is not willing to back down from her demands, especially now that she has found a home with Nancy and Henrietta – the first true home she has had since her parents died. She just wants Quin to divorce her and let her live her new life. But when he refuses, she agrees to return to Howden Hall for six weeks and give their marriage a chance as long as he agrees to grant her a divorce if things don’t work out.
At first, Bea holds herself back, refusing to get involved with his family or the running of the house, but a visit from Lady Jarrow, Anna’s grandmother-in-law, changes everything and soon Bea is not only taking her place as the duchess but is working miracles with Quin’s family as well, helping them heal from the aftermath of their father’s scandal. She also confronts Quin and makes him face his buried emotions, something that he hadn’t even realized he was doing until she points it out. They form a friendship and soon deeper feelings begin to blossom and it seems like HEA is a given – until something from Bea’s past rears its ugly head and she will have no choice but to give up her chance at happiness to protect the man she has come to love with her whole heart.
I thought this was a well-written, nicely-paced story with wonderful characters and an interesting storyline. The story has a bit of everything; a dysfunctional family, secrets, lies, warm love scenes, great secondary characters, blackmail, true love, and finally a hard-won HEA complete with an epilogue. I have to say, despite Bea being a tad selfish, some minor title errors and not to mention the casual attitude towards divorce – I think this might be my favorite book in the series so far and I can say without a doubt Quin is most definitely my favorite Jenni Fletcher hero ever! I am happy to recommend this title and even though it is the third book in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone title with no problems at all.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions are my own *