The Perfect Duchess is the second in Erica Taylor’s Macalisters series. I hadn’t read the previous entry in the series, but this didn’t end up being a problem for me as the author has crafted a story that stands perfectly well on its own.
Andrew Macalister, the Duke of Bradstone, ‘The Stone Duke,’ was jilted by Lady Christina Masson five years ago. Having gone to school with her brother Jonathon, he had known Christina and her twin sister Clara since childhood.
Lady Clara Masson was exiled to the country when her sister jilted The Stone Duke at the altar and ran off with the footman. Returning to society five years later following the death of her father, she is surprised to discover she is victim to cruel rumours and gossip. Reconnecting with Andrew at the annual Macalister Birthday Ball when he saves her from a vicious set down she is dismayed to find her feelings for him are ever present.
Returning home, Clara is shocked to discover it was her brother Jonathon who started the rumours about her. Enraged that Clara went to the ball he orders her to leave and becomes violent when she is slow to follow his edict. Andrew, unable to forget Clara, arrives just in time to save her and takes her away.
The story had potential. It starts out well with compelling characters and an interesting backstory, however the story gets muddled in the middle and a lot of narrative could have been left out. It does improve again towards the end with a few interesting twists and turns. While I did enjoy this book, the middle let it down. I would read this author again and I am intrigued by the Macalisters that I will follow their stories.