Series: The Cavensham Heiresses #4
Published by St. Martin's Press on November 27, 2018
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Era
A lady with a noble mission. A duke looking for redemption. A forbidden love that cannot be denied…
Lady Daphne Hallworth is ready to celebrate the holidays with her family. But when they accidentally leave her home alone, Daphne uses the time to work on her dream—opening a home for unwed mothers. But her quest isn’t problem-free: She’s in a battle to win the property for the home against her brother’s best friend-turned-enemy, Paul Barstowe, Duke of Southart. And that’s not all: someone has stolen her personal diary, which holds secrets that could devastate her family. Daphne has always harbored private feelings for the man her family scorns…though perhaps striking a bargain with the handsome Duke will solve both their problems?
Paul, long considered good for nothing, aims to open a hospital to honor his brother and restore his reputation. So when a conflict over the land brings him straight into Daphne’s life, they make a deal: He will help her find her diary if Daphne can change her family’s opinion of him. But before he can win her family’s affection, he has to win hers first. Maybe love was the answer to their family feud all along?
I haven’t had the chance to read this author before, but when her latest book “The Good, The Bad and the Duke” was released a few months ago, I knew I wanted to pick up this book and it has such a charm to its Christmas toned cover and I will admit the cover is what really drew me to the story and I love unique titles that have me intrigued and so when I saw this book at my local library, I grabbed it right up. And sometimes with new author it can take me a while to get in the mood for them but I was really in the mood to read this one last night and from the first few pages I was beyond charmed by this witty writing.
Our story begins with seeing our couple when they are close to being teenagers, and that they are friends. Daphne and Paul are our protaganists of the story. Daphne is the sister of Paul’s best friend. We see a moment between them when Paul helps save a baby bird for Daphne and from that moment they both had a great affection for each other. But then they both grew up, and the friendship between Daphne’s brother and Paul fractured and broke apart and now its forbidden for them to spend any time together. Paul made lots of mistakes when he was younger and it cost him two of his closest friends and now with his brother and father’s death, he only has one friend, a vicar who is a bit unconventional. Paul wants to bring about change in himself and in others. He wants to be a better man and to try to fix the friendships that became broke because of his actions.
The time to Christmas is drawing near, and on Christmas Eve, both her mother and her brother leave her behind on accident and she is left with one servant who stays with her to make sure nothing happens to her. While out for a short walk at the park, her handbag is stolen with her journal by a child and as she chases him through the streets of London and she ends up at a gaming club and runs into Paul. He helps her out from being caught and creating a scandal, and she invites him and his vicar friend to Christmas. Even though there is a bond between them, Daphne is loyal to her brother and her heart is torn between the desire she feels for Paul and the love and respect she has for her brother.
The Good, The Bad and the Duke was such a sweet romance that gave me laughs and filled me with happy feels. This is a story that is light and charming but also still has a solid plot line. I loved the style of sensuality that flows in and out of the story, Which is not something you always see in a regency romance and I adored the chemistry between these two. It could have been a bit more focused at times, but I found that their relationship really grew on me. We see a mix of forbidden love and friends to lovers. I enjoy the plotline of Daphne losing her journal which unless found could cause a disaster for her family. And I will admit the tension between her brother and Paul is hilarious, I got so many laughs from their interactions but we see how Daphne holds true to her heart and what she has with Paul.
Both the hero and the heroine that we see grow in this story I fell in love with. I pretty much loved both of them. Daphne has her own passions and desires and stays true to herself. She is a bit more unconventional in that she shares her sexual desires in her journal and she embraces that side of herself and isn’t ashamed of it, but with how restrictive society is she also keeps it secret from anyone but herself. We see this side of herself really come through when she reconnects with him. I loved the intimacy that develops between these two. They have a friendship and a trust, but then we see the level of desire they have for each other and it wraps you up like a blanket on a cold winter’s night.
The hero is a character that you can admire so much. He has made mistakes with gambling, women and acting rashly. But he sobers up very quickly when his brother who has never lost faith in him, has always had his back but dies of a sickness and I love that he knows he wants a change and goes about making a better world for others. To make decisions out of honor and in the need of service to others and less thinking selfishly about his desires alone.
These two make a great team together and I had a blast seeing them discover what they have together and the obstacles that have to overcome to find their happy ever after and from beginning to end I had a fun time with this book and definitely one that is full of wit, adventure and sensuality!!!