Published: October 14th 2019
Publisher: Entangled Publishing,
Length: 150 pages
My Rating: 3 stars
Lady Olivia, the youngest sister of the Earl of Castleton, has no patience for the boring gentlemen of aristocratic society. She longs for a more adventurous life like the ladies who visit the Raven Club. But her plans are thwarted when her family drags her to a country house party to meet the elusive Duke of Keswick.
Tristan Cameron, the Duke of Keswick, finds Olivia in his stables. She believes him to be the stable master, and he doesn’t dissuade her of the notion. He has no interest in entertaining one of the spoiled, self-indulgent ladies who’ve invaded his home. Except, Olivia is neither of those things, and their shared kiss during a ride results in combustible passion.
And a potential scandal.
Olivia is relieved when the handsome stable master comes to her aid as her alibi, but that relief fades to anger when she suddenly finds herself betrothed to the harsh, foul-tempered duke.
Tristan believes he’s been trapped by a scheming, title-seeking lady. To make matters worse, she’s utterly captivating. He plans on leaving her behind in the country immediately after their vows, but Tristan soon finds himself battling temptation and Olivia’s stubborn determination to be the Duchess he doesn’t believe he deserves…
This book is part of a series but can be read as a standalone. There are overlapping characters as the series focuses on the Swift family, I read the first in the series and missed the second, and it had no impact on the story.
The series seems to rely on the forced marriage trope, in the two books that I have read both relationships involved the couple getting married because they were caught in a compromising situation.
I like Olivia, she was headstrong and independent. She refused to be ordered about, Tristan did not have a happy life, bullied and humiliated because he has a speech impediment he was determined to never marry. When he is forced to marry Olivia, he believes she trapped him and refuses to have anything to do with her. Tristan has no wish to become a father as he fears passing on his speech impediment, but Olivia won’t take no for an answer. When something is leaked to a newspaper, he once again leaps to Olivia or her sister as the culprit. Tristan brought a lot of hardship on himself by not communicating and distrusting the one person who could have helped him.
There is an added plotline where Olivia gets kidnapped, the entire thing could have been left out as rather than add to the story; it made the plot worse. If this had been excluded, I would have given the book a higher rating.
It is a good read, and I enjoyed watching Tristan overcome his stutter, but there were too many small plot issues that detract from an otherwise entertaining read.
I received an arc of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
*Blurb and cover image via Goodreads.