All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: An Inconvenient Duchess by Christine Merrill

on July 13, 2017

The Inconvenient Duchess (The Radwells #1)
Christine Merrill
Harlequin M&B Historical
2014, 2014p
Freebie on iBooks

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

“Dear Cici and Father,” “I have come to Devon and married a duke. And I’m more tired and hungry than I have ever been in my life. Please let me come home.”

Compromised and wedded on the same day, Lady Miranda was fast finding married life not to her taste. A decaying manor and a secretive husband were hardly the stuff of girlish dreams. Yet every time she looked at dark, brooding Marcus Radwell, Duke of Haughleigh, she felt inexplicably compelled and determined to make their marriage real…

At the moment I am ‘babysitting’ an 8wk old kitten while his foster carer is away for a few days. He’s the cutest thing on four legs and sooo much fun. At night I’ve got him in the ensuite bathroom and to keep an eye on him, I started reading this book just to make sure he’d settle and not get distressed about being somewhere new. Well, he fell asleep immediately and never made a sound but I ended up so into this book that I read it in one sitting.

I don’t read a lot of M&B any more – I read so many in my teen years as my grandmother had a subscription and when they’re kind of all you’re reading, it’s pretty easy to burn out on them. But now, many years later, I am swayed by the odd blurb and end up reading one. I don’t know why but I’ve never read many from the Historical line so when I saw this one I decided I had to get it.

The Duke of Haughleigh has been once again drawn to his mother’s deathbed only this time it actually appears as though she may be dying. Tricked into a promise he didn’t really understand, he’s surprised when a woman arrives on his doorstep unchaperoned. He knows that in order to preserve her reputation, he’ll have to marry her immediately, getting himself a new Duchess. A widower, the Duke knew that his time had come to marry again and provide the estate with an heir, if only to stop it falling into the hands of his wastrel brother St John.

The girl in question is Lady Miranda, of good birth but fallen on very impoverished times. The Duke is not at all what she expects – she was hoping for someone kind, maybe older, content to leave her be. The Duke is none of those things, although their marriage was made in haste with the two of them virtual strangers, there’s glimmers of possibility that it could actually work.

I really enjoyed this. I like a forced marriage where the couple don’t really know each other but arrangement or circumstance forces their hand. Despite the fact that the Duke is quite gruff and has a temper, Miranda doesn’t cower from him and isn’t afraid of him. Both of them seem to want to make the best of their situation and try and make this marriage work and it perhaps would’ve gone a lot smoother if not for the sneaky villain of the story, the Duke’s younger brother.

And wow, was he.  St John is definitely a jerk of the highest order, basically good for nothing gambler, womaniser, runner up of debts expecting money from the family purse to constantly bail him out. At first Miranda cannot understand why Marcus, the Duke, orders him off the property and her kind nature ends up putting her in a very difficult situation when St John decides that he has misread the situation and can use that to get the ultimate revenge on his brother for a perceived wrong years ago. It becomes quite clear as the story goes on that he’ll stop at nothing to achieve his goal and only the fact that Miranda has been able to break through the shell surrounding the Duke and convince him of her good character, does he not succeed in driving the two apart (well okay the fact that Miranda was still innocent helped too).

There’s another book after this one that features St John as the ‘hero’ and I have to admit I’m kind of curious about it. St John is so horrid in this book. Fair enough if he hates his brother, but the fact that he was willing to do horrible things to Miranda for the sake of revenge….I’m definitely interested to see how such a person could be redeemed.

I liked the way that Marcus and Miranda got to know each other in this though. Miranda was incredibly loyal and steadfast and Marcus was remarkably free of prejudice. The two of them ended up being exactly what the other needed. Miranda is nothing like Marcus’ first Duchess – even though she was married off to a Duke due to someone else’s orchestration, the title itself doesn’t really mean anything to her as such. She’s also excellent at household management and wastes no time bringing the estate up to scratch and taking over the running of the staff. She’s also compassionate and not afraid to get her hands dirty either. She brings out a somewhat softer side in Marcus too, and once he learns that he can trust Miranda, they have a really nice bond that develops and deepens. And when all the truth comes out about Marcus’ first marriage, the reader realises just how much it takes for Marcus to let go of that and completely trust someone, especially around his brother.

I’m in two minds about reading the next book. On one hand, I really want to see how the author redeems St John and turns him into a person you actually want to cheer for and want to get a happy ending but on the other hand I really disliked him and I’m just not sure I want to pay money to read about him. A dilemma.


Book #120 of 2017


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