The Seduction of a Duke by Donna MacMeans

Sequel to The Education of Mrs. Brimley

Berkley Sensation

Historical

ISBN: 978-0425228067

Reviewed by Cassie

   

 

Francesca Winthrop is not happy when her social-climbing mother unexpectedly arranges an engagement for heróto an English duke sheís never met.  She is determined to escape the engagement by any means necessary.  When she canít get out of it, she decides to use a courtesanís journal to help her seduce her husband. 

William Chambers, Duke of Bedford, is desperate.  He needs money to save the crumbling legacy his spendthrift father left him.  Heís even willing to become engaged to an American heiress, sight unseen.  Fortunately he finds Francesca quite attractive, but comes to a mistaken conclusion and decides not to consummate the marriage until the first couple of months have passed.   

Will Fran and the courtesanís diary break through Williamís reserve, or will misunderstandings kill their budding feelings before they have a chance to grow? 

The Seduction of a Duke is a nice, entertaining story of a marriage of convenience that becomes more.  Francesca is independent, stubborn, and clever.  She wants to decide her own future, but as a woman she is often unable to do so, being forced to follow the dictates of her parents.  Sheís crushed when she discovers they have engaged her to the duke, especially because she fancies herself in love with someone else.  Her frustration was understandable, although some of her scheming to avoid the marriage was a bit silly.  William is an honorable man driven to desperate measures.  At first, he comes across as pompous and overbearing at times, but his good intentions come through.  The conclusion he jumped to was also a bit silly, as it could have been cleared up with some discussion, but I guess it was understandable given the time period.  I enjoyed watching Fran and William dancing around each other and slowly getting to know each other.  There are some interesting secondary characters, such as Franís maid, Williamís valet, and Williamís family in England.  I wasnít too keen on the evil ex-mistress angle that appeared partway through the book and reappeared near the end, but it did add some action.  Donna MacMeans isnít breaking any terribly new ground here, but after a bit of a slow start the book picks up and leads to a satisfying conclusion. 

     

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