Reviewed by May
“I mix up my words,” he said suddenly. There. He was honest about that.
Her flapping stopped, and she peered at him, a faint crease in her forehead. “So?”
“So?” he repeated.
She turned her palms up. “So?”
Noah wasn’t sure what to say. Absent were the pity and the suspicion and the distaste he usually encountered when others became aware of his difficulty. “Does that not bother you?”
“I can’t sing,” she mused…
“I can’t tolerate being restrained, but you know that already. I cannot abide rats, and when I’m angry, I tend to curse. Very offensively, I might add. In French.”
Oh how I loved this book and these characters! I’m getting ahead of myself though. The basic premise here is that there is a woman is trapped wrongly in Bedlam, a nephew trying to rush his claim to the Dukedom, and a daughter trying to trying to help by admitting her brother the true Duke, isn’t dead after all. Who to call? She reaches out to Chegarre & Associates and Elise deVries. Elise is master of disguise and quickly gets to work finding the lost Duke – the one man who can fix everything for his mother and sister in a snap. She has no idea why he disappeared all those years ago or where to find him, but she’s got a lead.
Let me begin by saying that this is one of the best historical romances that I’ve read in a long time. The story is actually pretty simple and the ending fairly mundane, but it’s done incredibly well. I would have liked more payoff at the end, but the way it goes fits with the writing style and so that’s just me fussing about wanting more. This book has everything I want. The tortured past, the completely awesome strong characters, intriguing (but out of the way) supporting cast, and a book I couldn’t put down. We have a heroine that is completely capable and very skilled. She’s also very upfront – no beating around the bush with her!
The thing that I love about that is instead of there being manufactured drama, these characters connected in real honest ways. They didn’t pretend they hadn’t both had exceptionally rough times in their past. The upfront approach worked so well for me! I get so tired of “uh oh, what’ll happen when he finds out — and she learns that —-?” Instead, we got to see how these two came together and why they are perfect for each other.
“You drag me out of a river, threaten to claim my horse, and now you appoint yourself my knight-errant?”
“Well, if you’re not going to die, I think you’re owed at least a little errancy for saving a lad.”
“Errancy? Is that even a word?”
“It is for a heroine.” He smiled at her then, and Elise felt the bottom of her stomach pitch wildly. Oh, dear God. The man had dimples. She was not going to survive this. Not without giving in to the insane urge to kiss him silly if only to discover if he tasted as good as he looked.
I do not wish to spoil the details of all that went on with each of these characters, or how they’ll work out the problems and deal with his villain of a cousin, so I will just say that if you want a truly strong leading lady and most excellent reluctant Duke – this one is for you. The pace of this story is incredibly fast, and the dialogue snappy. This story may not become an all-time favorite, but it’s by far one of the best I’ve read this year and one I truly enjoyed.