I received this book for free from Avon in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Texan Duke by Karen Ranney
Also in this series: The Scottish Duke, The English Duke
Series: Duke Trilogy #3
Published by Avon on October 31st 2017
Genres: Historical Romance, Scottish Highlands
New York Times bestselling author Karen Ranney’s third book in her Duke series spins the tale of a reluctant duke who must choose between his life in America—and the Scottish woman he’s destined to love…
As the ward to the late Duke of Lothian, Elsbeth Carew resides at the ancestral estate of Bealadair. Fiercely attached to the manor, she loves it more than anyone else. When Connor McCraight—the new Duke of Lothian—arrives, Elsbeth does not quite know what to make of the American who has inherited the title but has never even set foot on Scottish soil. The tall, ruggedly handsome Texan sweeps through Bealadair with an air of authority Elsbeth has never encountered.
Connor has no intention of making Scotland his home and hopes to sell the estate as soon as possible. But his plan is jeopardized when he meets Elsbeth. A sweet, gray-eyed beauty, she tempts him in ways no other woman has. As word spreads of Connor’s intention to sell Bealadair, his life is threatened—and the only woman who can save him may be the one he has hopelessly lost his heart to.
The Texan Duke is the last book in the Duke Trilogy by Karen Ranney and brings together a Scot and a Texan (American). Our hero was born and raised in Texas, around cattle and horses and the west plains of Texas. He loves his life, but when he learns of his father’s real roots as a Scot, and that he is now the new Duke of Lothian. He is shocked and appalled by his new responsibilities and that he will have to travel to Scotland, in the winter and deal with this new “dilemma”. Elspeth was the ward of the late Duke of Lothian. Her parents were killed, and the Duke had been her fathers closest friend and took her into his home. Now he is dead, and she must deal with this latest development of dealing with a new Duke, a man that is not born a Scot and the whole household is determined to show him how well the clan prospers. But when they learn that he plans on selling it, Elspeth and Connor will be drawn into a plot of danger and intrigue.
I truly enjoyed the Texan Duke and it was a bit different than the previous two books. I did enjoy it quite a bit, but I do think the first book is probably my favorite of the trilogy. I do have a weakness toward these unique matches in romance of dealing with an American coming to either England or Scotland and dealing with the culture shocks especially when it comes to the “titled” elements. And seeing a true, born and raised cowboy, deal with being a Scottish Duke had some strong appeal and unique challenges for sure and I felt that Karen Ranney did a wonderful job in showing these problems and mixes of culture very well while staying true to the romance for the most part. I do think that the plot took charge in this story. We have Connor’s life being put in danger because a certain family member isn’t too pleased when learning he wants to sell instead of keeping it. This does cause quite a bit of anger and fear among the whole clan. Now at first, you “think” you know who is behind it all, but honestly Ranney really worked me in this story. I never expected the identity of the true culprit. Now granted, the real villain, is not what you expect but I also felt uneasy about this character at times. I did like how Karen Ranney pulls you into this story with the elements of danger.
Now to talk about the actual romance in this story. Elspeth and Connor are drawn to each other from their first meeting. But Elspeth is practically a servant, she doesn’t feel like she is “part” of the family, even though the late Duke treated her like a member of the family. She runs the whole estate, and she is involved in every member of the clan’s life and Ioved that about her. There is some powerful chemistry that develops between these two. But I did like that we see a slow burn romance form between them. And this slow build-up relationships that forms works just right for the story because of certain other elements that come into the story. We have an attempted murder mystery going on, and then we have Elspeth trying to show Connor, the impact of his decision to sell. What I really liked about Connor though was his easy going personality. He is very laid back and was pretty refreshing. You see how well he connects with the cook and the maids and really just about everyone loves him. He is hardworking and dedicated, and really has a hard time understanding the whole “duke” obsessiveness when he wants to be appreciated for what he does in life and not because of his birth. He has such an honest and fresh feel to him that I gravitated towards. His character just leaves the reader with a smile all the way through.
The Texan Duke is a story that has a fresh air to this romance….a tale of self-discovery, growth, a plot of danger and mystery, a female ghost and some moments to make you laugh….truly entertaining in only the way that Karen Ranney delivers.