Once upon a time, there was a very rogueish duke whose mistress bore him four children – three sons and a daughter. She never told him of the children’s existence, so he went through his life never knowing about them – until the youngest son showed up and asked him to provide funds for him to buy a military commission. That son told him it was the least he could do – and he agreed that it was. Thus began his quest to get to know his children, bring them to London, and fold them into the ton. Except those children had absolutely no intention of having anything to do with the man they felt abandoned them. He’d wear them down by sending person after person after person out to their mining community – sooner or later, one of them would succeed and get at least one or two of them to town. The first book of the series – Along Came A Lady – is the story of the one person who finally managed to coax some of them to London.
This book is about the duke’s daughter, Cailin, who begged her oldest brother, Rafe, to accompany her to London. Along with Cailin we also have Courtland Balfour, Duke of St. James, who was one of those who unsuccessfully tried to bring Cailin and her family to London. Well, it wasn’t supposed to be him – it was supposed to be his twin brother – but Courtland thought it would be a lark to take his brother’s place since his brother wasn’t at all good with people. After being shot at by Cailin and receiving a punch so strong it could have killed him, he decided maybe it wasn’t such a lark.
Courtland can never let Cailin find out that he was impersonating his twin brother because it could cost his brother his job – and they desperately needed the funds – not to mention that his brother loved his job. So, of course, it doesn’t take long for Courtland’s brother and Cailin to cross paths – and for it all to break loose and for Kier to lose his job.
I thought the chemistry between Cailin and Courtland was excellent – and I loved that she could tell the twins apart right away. Each of them had closed off their hearts and emotions, but for very different reasons and it was lovely to see them open up and learn to love. Each of them gave it their best fight – Cailin because she didn’t want to risk heartbreak a second time – and Courtland because he didn’t want to become his father and marry just for the money the dukedom so desperately needed.
I loved how protective Cailin’s brothers were of her – and what was even more delightful was how protective Courtland’s sisters were of him. The youngest sister, Ellie, was priceless and you should read the book just for the things she gets up to. However, I will note that the same youngest sister (14 years) has a not-quite-believable personality. She plays with toy swords like an 8-year-old – but she is also worldly-wise and gives advice to much older people. I liked parts of her character, but she just didn’t seem believable.
The reason I didn’t give the book more stars is two-fold. First, while I liked the story well enough, it didn’t just suck me in where I couldn’t turn loose. Second, and more importantly (to me at least), is the constant (ad nauseam) references to Courtland being a step away from debtors’ prison, being locked up, doing labor, etc. Since that would have been all but impossible, I just had a hard time buying into the story. There is a well-written article by Courtney Milan (who is an expert on these things) that explains about Peers and debtors prison, etc. If you are interested, you can read it in Courtney Milan’s Article – If you aren’t interested and it doesn’t bother you, then I’m sure you’ll love it.
I liked the story and thought it was well written. I liked the main characters and was rooting for their HEA throughout the story.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.