Beguiling the Duke by Darcy Burke
Tracy’s rating: 3/3.5 of 5 stars
Series: Lords in Love, #1
Release Date: March 7, 2023
John “Law” Holbrook, the Duke of Lawford is on his way to meet Lady Frederica, the woman his father wanted him to marry when his carriage loses a wheel and he is stranded in the town of Marrywell. He, his valet, and his driver make their way to the closest residence, a large farmhouse owned by the Campion family. It is here that he mistakes Sadie, the owner’s daughter for a servant and learns that due to the start of the annual May Day Matchmaking Festival, there is no one to fix his carriage and no rooms to let. But despite his gaffe, he is invited to stay and Sadie has the doctor summoned to tend to his driver. Law is relieved to have to delay his trip, he doesn’t want to marry Lady Frederica and despite what her father believes and what his father wanted, he never made any promises to wed her and there is no betrothal agreement. He quickly realizes what a gem Sadie is and tries to rectify his early insult. When he learns of the festival and Sadie’s desire to find a husband, he promises to help her find a husband before the end of the festival.
After years of managing her father’s house, Sadie Campion is more than ready to have a home of her own. And after an embarrassing lapse in judgment four years ago, she is finally ready to try her luck again this year. She worries that this might be her last chance to find a match and hopes she is chosen to be one of the seven young ladies chosen to be a “maiden fair” as they are almost always matched by the end of the festival. Having Law by her side is no hardship, she just has to remember that he is not for her. But the more time they spend together, the harder that is to remember – for both of them. It seems like he may be the one for her after all, that is until Lady Frederica and her parents show up declaring to one and all that Law is betrothed to her. Has she been played for a fool again? And why does it hurt so much more this time?
This was a cute story with engaging, likable characters, but at the same time, it was a bit drawn out and predictable. I liked the idea of the Matchmaking Festival and thought naming the town “Marrywell” was clever. Sadie and Law are easy to root for, but their story was a bit formulaic and I found the sheer number of secondary characters to be overwhelming in a relatively short book. Overall, it was a cute story with a bit of steam, a little heartache, and a happy ending that includes an epilogue. This is the first book in a two-author collaboration series, but I assume each story will be a standalone title and they can be read in any order.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.*