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About the Book
Cassandra Wayte could not be a more unsuitable match. She isn’t received by polite society, and her notorious dealings with London’s underclass is the talk of nobility from White’s patrons to the most fashionable hostesses. It’s even whispered she murdered her elderly husband. But Edward sees a different side of the tragic lady, and he determines to discover the secrets tormenting her. As he peels away the layers of her resistance, he discovers a malevolent adversary stalking Lady Wayte and exposes a level of depravity that shocks even his war-hardened sensibilities. Can he win her trust and her heart? And at what cost to the dukedom?
As Cassandra’s relentless search for her husband’s murderer exposes both her and Edward to unseen dangers, all they can rely on is their love for each other and their faith in God.
I have not read any of Elaine Manders’ books before The Duke’s Dilemma, and after reading this one, I am willing to try another.
The Duke’s Dilemma is a good book. It’s written well, the suspense and mystery is well done, and the romance between Cassandra and Edward is believable, sweet, and realistic.
Cassandra is our heroine, and she’s a good one. She’s dedicated to a cause of rescuing women from brothels, and is smart, funny, and likable, but never annoyingly so. Cassandra is also on the edges of high society. Her husband was much older and he died under suspicious circumstances, which Cassandra was blamed for. Cassandra also has a hard time forgiving herself for what happened in her past, and though she comes close she never wallows in it.
Edward is the Duke in the title, and he’s a good character, as well, though his character isn’t as developed as Cassandra’s. He cares deeply for his sister, which is how he is first meets Cassandra, who is his neighbor. He’s kind, intelligent, and very protective of Cassandra once he begins falling for her.
However, there is one thing that bothered me about this relationship: it takes quite a while into the book before Cassandra or Edward trust each other with secrets that have big impacts, and it didn’t fit well with the closeness Ms. Manders had developed between them. It’s a minor quibble, however, and doesn’t lessen my enjoyment of the book.
The setting, Regency England, is excellently detailed and comes alive on the page. The mystery of who killed Cassandra’s husband never felt dragged out, and there was a twist at the end that genuinely surprised me! For someone who reads as much as I do, I am always pleased when that happens!
Both characters begin the book as Christians, though they struggle with their faith because of what happened to them in the past. I think it’s an accurate portrayal of people who have been deeply wounded and are hesitant to trust in God. I appreciated this aspect of the book.
I give this book 4/5 stars and recommend it to those who enjoy Regency romances, Christian romances, and light suspense.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from CelebrateLit. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
Guest Post from Elaine Manders
Historical romance became my favorite genre back in the seventies and eighties, and one of my favorite settings was Regency England. A Regency can be a romance in the Jane Austin mode or historical romance set during the Regency period. There is a difference, and The Duke’s Dilemma falls into this latter category. Yes, there is some of usual drawing room intrigue in an Austen novel, but The Duke’s Dilemma contains a serious spiritual theme. The plot fitted perfectly into my new series, The Wolf Deceivers.
I wrote the original manuscript nearly twenty years ago as a light, secular romance, but when I revised it to Christian romance, I was delighted to find the inspirational thread deepened the characters. Instead of merely fighting for her reputation while trying to wrest the duke from another woman, Cassandra, the heroine, must fight for her survival. Instead of being another handsome, sardonic nobleman, Edward, the hero, uses his intelligence and grace to protect Cassandra and win her love.
Even the secondary characters captivated me. Little Sarah’s match-making antics suited the Regency theme and provided some levity during the darker moments of the plot. Lady Ashford, Cassandra’s foil, developed a tenacity I had to admire in spite of all her shortcomings. And Sir Harcrumb became a villain I loved to hate.
Though the characters changed a great deal in the retelling, the plot remained basically the same. The only thing I added was a surprise twist at the end—something that has inadvertently become a part of my brand.
Every story is a learning experience for me, and I’m always grateful for how much I learn from my research and from the Holy Spirit. I’ve become more aware of those who deceive, and how vulnerable people, especially young people, are to Satan’s tactics. Also, I’ve unexpectedly come away with a better understanding of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Although this is a new label, we all know it has affected people throughout history.
Yes, The Duke’s Dilemma has taught me much, and I hated to say good-bye to these characters. I love stories that move me during the writing and only ask two things of my books. That they bring enjoyment to my readers and glory to my Lord and Savior, Jesus. I hope this one does both.
August 22: A Baker’s Perspective
August 22: Books, Books, and More Books
August 23: Blogging With Carol
August 24: Genesis 5020
August 25: Avid Reader Book Reviews
August 25: Have A Wonderful Day
August 26: Jami’s Words
August 26: Faery Tales Are Real
August 27: Karen Sue Hadley
August 27: Ashley’s Bookshelf
August 28: Remembrancy
August 29: The Fizzy Pop Collection
August 29: For the Love of Books
August 30: Locks, Hooks and Books
August 30: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
August 31: Blossoms and Blessings
September 1: Pause for Tales
September 1: Caffeinated Reads
September 2: Live. Love. Read.
September 3: Just the Write Escape
September 4: Henry Happens
September 4: History, Mystery & Faith
To celebrate her tour, Elaine is giving away:
Grand prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card
1st place: paperback copies of Books 1 and 2 of the Wolf Deceivers series, The Chieftain’s Choice and The Duke’s Dilemma!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bbab
Writer/Editor. Voracious Book Reader. World Traveler. Veteran. Bakery Owner.