The Dueling Duchess by Minerva Spencer

The Dueling Duchess (Wicked Women of Whitechapel, #2)The Dueling Duchess by Minerva Spencer

Tracy’s rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Wicked Women of Whitechapel, #2

Release Date: May 23, 2023

Manon Cecile Blanchet, known to all as Cecile Tremblay, has not had an easy life, at 14 she was forced to flee her home in France during the Reign of Terror. She loses everything, but builds a new life for herself, now at 36 she lives life on her own terms as the co-owner of Farnham’s Fantastical Female Fayre, as well as one of the circus’ star attractions, thanks to her sharpshooting abilities. She meets Gaius “Guy” Darlington, the Marquess of Carlisle when he joins the troupe while on a mission with his best friend to rescue his best friend’s brother. They become lovers, but end things when Guy inherits a dukedom and must marry an heiress, they began the affair knowing this, but when it is time for them to part ways, Guy crosses a line and insults Cecile. A slight she will not forget…

Fast-forward a year, Guy is no longer the Duke of Fairhurst, and his heiress fiancee, Helena will have to jilt him and marry the long-lost cousin who has assumed the title. But in his mind, this change does have a silver lining since he is now free to pursue Cecile – he just needs to earn her forgiveness for his previous insult, but that is going to be easier said than done.

I have mixed feelings about this book as there were a lot of things I liked, but also a lot of things that I didn’t care for. Primarily, Celine, because despite her tragic past, which should have softened her to me, I found her difficult to like, I also thought Guy was a bit dim, with more hair than wit. In addition to that, I found the past/present/past/present timeline confusing and I thought that a good portion of this story dragged yet it wrapped up quickly and perhaps a bit too perfectly. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more if I read the first book, but I really don’t know if that would have made a difference or not. Overall, it was an interesting read, definitely not your typical historical romance, with strong women determined to live their lives in a way that doesn’t leave them at the mercy of a husband/man. I am not sorry I read this book, but I am not sure if I will read the next book or not, and I think I would recommend reading the first book before diving into this story.

*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.*

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Avid reader (and reviewer) of historical romance.

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