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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
About the Book
An Uncommon Courtship is the first book I've read by Kristi Ann Hunter, and it definitely won't be the last. And I will be buying the rest of the Hawthorne House series.
Marriage of conveniences are one of my favorite tropes in fiction, and I especially love them when the characters don’t know each other well. Trent and Adelaide are thrown into marriage after spending a completely innocent night stuck in a crumbling ruin.
Adelaide is a great character. Due to an upbringing where she is ignored unless her sister needs something, and an overbearing social climber mother, she is very reserved and doesn’t always know how to express her needs or wants. Watching her break out of this shell and become more assertive and aware of her needs is one of my favorite parts of the book. I adore Adelaide.
Trent is also a great character. He is honorable in marrying Adelaide to prevent her reputation from being destroyed, and his relationship with his brother is one of my favorite aspects of the book, though it didn’t overshadow the romance. When he realizes he may have feelings for her and how uncertain Adelaide feels in her new life as his wife, he decides to court her to win her affection.
Ms. Hunter is a very capable writer. The setting is so detailed I could picture every scene perfectly and it’s excellently researched. A pet peeve of mine is when titled characters aren’t addressed correctly, so I was glad to see it done perfectly in this book! The secondary characters are also well-done and aren’t merely there to move the plot along.
This book is part of a series but can stand alone. I do, however, recommend you read the rest of the series simply because I think this author has written an amazing story and I hope the others are just as good. I can’t wait to read the rest of them.
I give this book 5/5 stars and recommend it to readers who enjoy a sweet romance with rich historical detail, main characters who live their faith, and excellent secondary characters.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, Bethany House. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
This is one of my favorite historical romances ever. I read, on average, 75-100 books a year and I've been reading historical romance for almost twenty years, and this one has remained near the top of my list. It’s the book I give to friends who are interested in reading historical romances.
First off, I adore the hero, Kit. He is my favorite type—a “happy-go-lucky” façade covering deep emotional hurt. Kit is charming, yes, but he is also deeply scarred from his time as a soldier and his guilt over his brother’s death (no spoilers about what happened between them, as it’s an important part of Kit’s story in the books).
I spent four years in the US Army and deployed to Iraq. Kit has a quote near the end of the book that perfectly encapsulates my own feelings about what happens after war and it remains one of my favorite pieces of dialogue. I’m not going to quote it below as it’s rather long and I think a bit of a spoiler regarding Kit’s actions for much of the book, but it occurs near the end.
It took me a little longer to warm up to Lauren, but once I did, she is perfectly wonderful character as well. She had an embarrassing encounter in the previous book in front of the entire ton (her fiancé’s presumed dead wife shows up on the wedding day) and she is scared that she will never find love. Her composure after these events plays nicely off Kit’s charm and humor. Of course, Lauren’s humor and “fun” side of her personality is exposed as she spends more time with Kit and his family, who are at odds with each other.
The premise of the book is that Kit and Lauren agree to pretend to be engaged for the benefit of both of both. Kit’s parents are trying to arrange a marriage for him with Freyja Bedwyn, a next-door neighbor who he previously engaged in a relationship with even though she was promised to his (now dead) brother. Lauren wants to escape society and live a quiet life, and having two failed engagements will make her scandalously unmarriageable and she’ll retire to a country cottage.
Watching the relationship turn into friends and then as they fall in love is a delight. They complement each other perfectly and I fully believe the feelings between them. Kit falls for her quickly and it takes Lauren longer but the resolution between them is wonderful. Lauren is also an integral reason why Kit and his family begin to repair what had fractured with his brother’s death and his younger brother’s injuries from war.
I would recommend this story to anyone who wants a quiet, character-driven romance with a few surprises as the couple fall in love. The amount of outer conflict is minimal (though there are some attempts by other people to break the engagement) and this is a story that features real internal conflict for both of our main characters. But it never seemed to drag despite all the introspection, and in fact, that is one of the reasons I enjoy this book and this author.
Mary Balogh is one of my favorite authors and she is one of the few I automatically buy new releases for. I haven’t liked everything she has written but I believe this is one of her best and give this book 5/5 stars.
Writer/Editor. Voracious Book Reader. World Traveler. Veteran.