Its a Regency Romance, not everyone wants to read that. That’s why its a 3P.
Its a 4Q because its a pretty well written Regency Romance, but entirely predictable.
A case of mistaken identity leads to marriage, but can it lead to love?
Stephanie Gray has just found out that her grandfather left his estate to her. She left her job as a governess to travel to the estate to claim her inheritance but it robbed. She tries to walk the remainder of the journey, but keeps trying to hitch hike. She is wearing an atrocious hat of plumed pink, purple and fushia feathers, and a similarly colored cloak. The Duke of Bridgewater is intrigued by her and allows her to ride in his carriage to the next town. He asks about her life and finds her story to be unbelievable and gets it in his head that she is a great actress and whore. He attempts to bed her the first night but she rebukes him. Stephanie just thinks he’s being nice, but he’s trying to catch her in a lie and then take her as his mistress.
When they arrive at Stephanie’s new estate, the Duke realizes he was totally wrong and that bringing her here has impuned her honor and thusly asks to marry her. Stephanie agrees, though she is stunned to find that he is in fact a Duke. They will be married a month hence.
A week later they meet again in London with his mother, sisters and sisters in-law. They think that Stephanie is a social disaster, so the Duchess of Bridgewater makes it her mission to turn Stephanie into a Duchess in a week. Stephanie gets a new wardobe, and lessons in how to act. These lessons are put to the task after the week at a ball in honor of the Duke and Stephanie’s betrothal.
Stephanie feels completely out of place in this new world she finds herself in, and feels like she’s losing herself. After an amorous encounter with the Duke at the ball and his unfortunate mistake of calling her a whore, she becomes withdrawn and becomes the perfect Duchess for him. He starts to notice that she is not herself around him.
They marry. He confesses to what he thought of her when they first met and their marriage is strained. Stephanie still tries to conceive a child with him, but is not sure she wants to stay. The Duke tries to win her over. They fall in love at the May fair and live happily ever after.
It was surprisingly good. Considering it is every regency trope, it played on a few of the ideas. I liked that Stephanie struggled with her dualing personalities and the Duke’s crisis of conscious. I think they worked up to them falling in love pretty well, though it did seem a little sudden. Stephanie was by far the better, and more rounded character, but the Duke was pretty deep as well. You could see how they were both struggling with the situation they ended up in. The characters really came to life, and the life of the ton was very vivid. The carriage ride to the estate and the home at his estate weren’t as vivid as the ton.
I think romance readers would love it. Its all the tropes, and some steam. But, I would be cautious because there are some triggery elements, and it isn’t all happiness and roses, the characters really suffer in this one. I really enjoyed myself, and I really related to Stephanie’s problem of needing to be one person to be correct for society being in complete dissonance to her true self.
A flaw with this book would be the quick timeline, and the slightly unbelievable time that they fell in love with each other (it would have worked better a little later than it actually happened).
Historical Romance, Regency Romance
Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani
Impetous Innocent by Stephanie Laurens
I think the significance of this book was the almost sobering look at shotgun marriages to people you don’t know. It was also really well done for a Regency.
Book Discussion Questions and Ideas
Did the Duke really need to ask for Stephanie’s hand in marriage?
Discuss Stephanie’s struggle with her identity.
Did the Duke deserve a second chance?
Why I Chose It
I chose this because it sounded like one of the most cliche romance novels I could pick up. I wanted to see if it was going to be as ridiculous as I thought it would be.