All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Day Of The Duchess by Sarah MacLean

on July 4, 2017

The Day Of The Duchess (Scandal & Scoundrel #3)
Sarah MacLean
2017, 400p
Purchased personal copy via Amazon

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

The one woman he will never forget…
Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only one problem—he already has one.

The one man she will never forgive…
After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow cannot resist.

A love that neither can deny…
The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their broken past, he can give her forever, making every day The Day of the Duchess.

The idea of this has intrigued me from the very beginning of the first book in this series, where Sophie Talbot caught her sister’s husband inflagrante and pushed him into a pond in front of most of London’s high society. There was enough about Malcolm and Seraphina in that scene for me to want to know their backstory and to see what happened next.

And so we pick up several years into the future after Sophie sat the Duke on his backside. Sera suffered a devastating loss and fled and the Duke has been relentlessly searching for her ever since, crossing continents and oceans in an attempt to find his Duchess and make things right between them. Now however Sera has returned to London of her own accord and demanded a divorce on the last day of the House of Lords, not only humiliating Malcolm in front of his peers but also letting him no in no uncertain circumstances that she wants to be free of him permanently.

It was always going to be hard to redeem a character the readers were introduced to as he committed infidelity in front of his wife. There’s no denying that Haven messed up, he knows it as well and as their background unfolds it definitely gives the reader a sense of understanding, about why he might have felt driven to do such a horrid thing. Does it excuse it? No. But he’s suffered for it as well, and Sera’s disappearance has further punished him. He’s spent months and months criss-crossing the globe searching for her and is about to go and look for her again now that Parliament is closed, when she shows up. It gives him a chance to buy some time so that he can convince her they can try again but all Seraphina wants is her divorce.

There’s so much angst in this book and most of it comes from Malcolm, who knows how horribly he messed things up and how he allowed ridiculous pride and injury to get in the way of what could’ve been the perfect marriage. He’s had a lot of time to rue his actions, years in fact and his thoughts are a tangled mess of regret, self-loathing and enduring love for Seraphina, despite the abominable ways they’ve both treated each other. Seraphina isn’t entirely innocent in this story either, she did a couple of things that were scheming and hurtful, even if she thought she was doing them for the best outcome. It was still an underhanded and sneaky thing to do and got them off to a terrible start, something in which they struggled to recover from. If Malcolm had listened, things might’ve gone better but he felt too betrayed by her to listen to her explanations, too shaped by his childhood to think that Sera had any other reasons for what she did. He couldn’t see the faults in his courtship, or that his own selfishness and desire to spend time with her alone had led to her desperate acts – it isn’t until much later that he’s able to look back and see how he might’ve made her feel.

Normally infidelity would be a deal breaker for me, but there was something about the way this story was told that changed that rule. I think it was because I spent so much time in the Duke’s head and he was so desperate to make up for what he did, get his wife back and make her happy. I really am a sucker for a guy who has so much angst going on inside his head and Malcolm definitely had that in spades. He was  desperately trying to buy time, keep her around in London, near him, so that he could make her see that they could have a second chance and the schemes he came up with were ridiculous….but Sera went along with them. They had some great chemistry, both sexually and emotionally intimate. But Seraphina craved being more than just a pretty ornament. She wanted freedom, independence. And the Duke had to see her, all her desires and needs in life before he could offer her what she truly needed in order to be happy. She’d said to him, “love isn’t enough” and it took him a little bit to understand what she meant, what was important to her.

The grovelling… sooo good. This book gave me all the feels every single time one of them laid themselves bare in some way or other. And what he does at the end…..such a big gesture. I loved this book. It pressed all my angsty-loving buttons, all my grovelling-male loving buttons, everything. I really liked the “Soiled Sisters”, I think they’re funny and ahead of their time and I like the relationship they have, their matter-of-factness about how they’re viewed by others. My interest is piqued for not one but possibly three future books that I think this story set up quite nicely.

This book was everything I hoped it’d be, from that first scene in The Rogue Less Taken.


Book #115 of 2017

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