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Ratings and Book Reviews (12 20 star ratings
12 reviews
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4.6 out of 5
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    Historical Romance

    The Reluctant Duchess by Jane Goodger The Brides of St. Ives #4 Rebecca Caine has two options...marry the Duke of Kendall or send her father to debtors prison. Loving her father and family she opts to marry a man she has never seen and head days away from home to live with and make a life with a stranger. Is the man abnormal? A freak? Disfigured? A Monster? She is not sure and his wanting it dark when they are together is definitely unsettling. The rumors are rife and unpleasant but also rather unbelievable so she goes about learning the truth, getting to know Oliver and eventually falling in love with him and he with her. That said, they have a lot of hurdles to overcome with evil people causing trouble, a trip to London and time with the ton that is unsettling, and a long ago mystery that is finally solved, too. Did I like the book? Yes Would I read more by this author? Yes Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Publishing – Lyrical Press for the ARC – This is my honest review. 4 Stars
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    The Reluctant Duchess

    I quite enjoyed this little romp down romance lane! I grew to love the interaction between both the hero and his lady. The story had all the elements needed in a good romance novel …, romance, humor and to tie it all together...a little bit of suspense that will keep you glued to your book! I would definitely look for more of her work in the future..
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    Unique Storyline - Interesting Characters

    ** 3.5 Stars rounded up to 4 ** Oliver Sterling became the eleventh Duke of Kendal at the age of six. His mother took one look at him when he was born and demanded his father remove him from the house. When the father refused, his mother left – and died five years later. After his mother left, Oliver then had five wonderful years with a father who loved him and was proud of him – regardless of Oliver’s ‘affliction’. When Oliver’s father suddenly died at the breakfast table – right in front of Oliver – Mr. Winter (a distant family relation) became Oliver’s guardian. Mr. Winter was extremely ‘protective’ of Oliver and kept him totally isolated from other people because of his ‘affliction’. The staff was slowly replaced until there was no one who knew Oliver when his father was alive. Mr. Winter runs the dukedom and Oliver becomes more and more isolated. The servants fear Oliver because they think he is a monster – they won’t even look at him and run from him if they do happen to see him. Oliver becomes a very sad and lonely man who has no clue about the world and allows Mr. Winter to shield him from everything and everyone. Oliver has all of the material comforts, but none of the human comforts. Then, Oliver sees a portrait of a lovely, red-haired young woman and he is mesmerized by her. The more he looks at the portrait, the more he is mesmerized. So, he tells Mr. Winter that he wants her as his bride and to make arrangements for a marriage by proxy and then to bring his bride to him. Rebecca Kane loves St. Ives. The village is small, near the beautiful, blue sea and the weather is never too cold. She’s never even seen snow. She has a small cadre of close friends and all is right in her world. Well, it is mostly right in her world. The father they all love is a squire (not an aristocrat), and he loves to gamble. Since they are not rich, their finances are usually precarious. Rebecca isn’t concerned when she is called into her father’s study one morning – until she gets there and notices that there is another man present and her father will hardly look at her. Then, her father says the words that drop the bottom out of her world. He has lost a great deal of money to Mr. Winter and the only way to keep a roof over the heads of her sisters and her mother – and to keep him out of debtor’s prison – is for Rebecca to marry the Duke of Kendal. NO! But, of course, she has to in order to keep her family safe. I thought this book had a very unique storyline and I liked it. Can you picture how naïve and dependent someone would be if they were raised in a total vacuum, got only the information provided to them from someone with an agenda, and were constantly told they were a monster because of their ‘affliction’? That is Oliver – and I loved watching him grow and realize that the larger world wouldn’t all view him as a monster. This book is as much about Oliver growing into the man his father would have been proud to call son as it is about the romance between Oliver and Rebecca. I think – maybe – the author was trying to infuse a gothic feel into the story with the ‘afflicted’ hero, the old, brooding house, the air of fear, etc. but it didn’t quite get there for me. I guess it was more beauty and the beast – without the caring, supportive cast. Oliver and Rebecca were truly all on their own. I liked that the ton was willing to give Oliver a chance because they liked and admired his father, but I also thought that they accepted him a bit too readily. I guess I think that if I suddenly met the son of someone I had liked and admired – 20 years later – I would welcome him and give him a chance, but I wouldn’t immediately become his best friend. Another thing that I didn’t get was a well-liked, well-respected man like Oliver’s father would leave his young son in the total care of someone like Mr. Winter. Oliver should have had a group of trustee’s named as well as a guardian. So – boo for Oliver’s father. At any rate, I enjoyed the book. I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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    Excellent!

    Really enjoyed this one! A feisty heroine, a damaged hero and a nasty villain! What more could you ask for?
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    A Fated Love

    1879 Horncliffe Manor My first historical romances were gothic, so I was excited about this book due to the premise. I can honestly say this one pulled me in from the first page! Oliver Sterling, eleventh Duke of Kendal, could not stop looking at the beautiful young woman in the picture. "Who is she?" he asked, turning to look at his guardian. Philip Winters, the man who raised him, gave a dismissive shrug. "I have no idea Your Grace. But I can find out. Shall I have her delivered?" Oh my I knew right then, this was going to be interesting! Well Winters actually did deliver the young lady, after finding her in her village and wagering with her father so that he had him at his mercy. The prize was Rebecca, the oldest of four daughters of a squire if she did not marry the duke by proxy, her whole family would be destitute. It seemed she had no choice... Can you just imagine? Rebecca and her friend figured out Mr. Winters set out to manipulate her father and that made it all the worse. But a Duke wanting to marry a commoner? What was wrong with him? This is an engaging story of a man believing himself a monster, not having hardly any human contact except for his guardian, that finds someone by chance. A caring, compassionate soul, Rebecca was fated to come together with Oliver and help bring him to the light. Mystery, suspense, strong emotions and unexpected happings kept me enthralled until the end. I have read several books by this author and she has quickly become one I want to continue reading over and over! I cannot wait until the next in this series!
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