The arrogant Duke of Trent intends to marry a well-bred Englishwoman. The last woman he would ever consider marrying is the adventuresome Merry Pelford— an American heiress who has infamously jilted two fiancés.
But after one provocative encounter with the captivating Merry, Trent desires her more than any woman he has ever met. He is determined to have her as his wife, no matter what it takes. And Trent is a man who always gets what he wants.
The problem is, Merry is already betrothed, and the former runaway bride has vowed to make it all the way to the altar. As honor clashes with irresistible passion, Trent realizes the stakes are higher than anyone could have imagined. In his battle to save Merry and win her heart, one thing becomes clear:
All is fair in love and war.
James (Four Nights with the Duke) enlivens a series of classic romance clich s with congenial characters and historical tidbits in this light Regency. In 1803, American heiress Merry has already broken two engagements. She is relieved by a proposal from English aristocrat Cedric before meeting his attractive twin, the Duke of Trent, without realizing Trent's identity or rank. Trent, admiring her straightforwardness, instantly desires to marry her himself. Too late, Trent discovers Merry is already engaged to his brother and he learns that Cedric only wants Merry for her money. Merry, meanwhile, is beginning to realize that she and the fashionable, hidebound Cedric are less suited to each other than she believed. The resulting triangular conflict escalates before resolving abruptly into a country idyll focusing on the slow and awkward development of Trent and Merry's relationship. Afraid he's incapable of romantic love, Trent doubts his emotions until he is forced to confront his hypocrisy. Though it has a well-trodden conflict, this romance is still gratifying.
Open the first page and prepare to be transported
4.5 stars, Rounded
Merry is an American heiress on her third engagement, yes, third, and is determined that this one will lead to the altar. Back in the states she is known as Mary Mary Quite Contrary for her peculiar decisions that lead her to accept then reject proposals. She started out a bit indecisive and dithery, but for me this worked nicely to serve the plot: she could follow her current path and remain a slightly unfulfilled and immature society wife, shallow as a puddle and providing tame company. But then she meets Trent.
Trent is the eldest of twin brothers, managing the estate and their lives as best he can. Frustrated with his brother Cedric and his profligacy, when he meets Merry he just knows that she intrigues him, and he wants more. But, Merry is not available: she is engaged to his brother, and here the fun begins. Trent was a bit skeptical and jaded, believing that love is fickle and for fools. Until he finds one that he can’t let go of.
The first half of the story is mostly light and fun, a flirtation if you will between characters and readers as we see the chemistry and enjoyment that Merry and Trent have, and the lack of same with her fiancé. As often happens in romance, Cedric is not what he seems and the engagement is off, leaving Merry free to follow her heart, if only Trent will get past his own stubborn belief that love doesn’t exist.
The second half of the story (roughly) shows us the married life of Merry and Trent, his gradual softening and obvious regard for Merry and her stepping up to take control of her new title and the termagants that are the London Ton. While we knew Merry was smart and kind, we also start to see her grasp onto her full potential and become a grownup with her own particular way of doing things, and her true love for Trent. It’s nice to have time to see the development of a couple AS a couple, married and dealing with all of those new issues, ideas, expectations and time learning one another.
With her usual style and flair, James manages to bring two unique characters together in a match that, while rather implausible, is wholly enjoyable and thoroughly entertaining. Open the first page and prepare to be transported to a place and time both long ago and oh so present.
I received a paperback copy of the title from the publisher via Avon Addicts for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
wonderful, light hearted read
I rarely give five full stars,but I found I really enjoyed this book while i was reading it. It has a lot of little thoughtful touches all the way through it. I loved Merry’s character. She was funny and honest while also trying to fit in. Cedric was nasty and condensing. Trent was a little hard to figure out, but he liked Merry for her own true self.
All the secondary characters were just as charming.
Its predictable and its funny. I liked it a lot.
In an attempt to review the book without spoiling it, I want to impart my impressions and feelings from reading it.
Initially, I downloaded the pre-release sample and read through it quickly. Two things about this, it quickly grabbed my attention and I was rather frustrated when I found I had to wait longer than I wished for the whole book to be released. From this, one can conclude that the book starts strong.
While I enjoyed the book immensely, I found that some of the motivations of the characters were not readily apparent. I’m not sure if Ms. James meant for this to be so, but I found some “after the fact” explanations to not necessarily be something divinable (yeah, I just made that word up). I also felt that some of the secondary characters were given a short shrift, but, realistically, they were either to provide color or be catalysts for the main characters’ actions. This critique is more a reflection on my desire for books I read to last longer than a negative about this book.
On to the positives. The frustrations and challenges of the main characters were very well presented, to the point that I was easily able to empathize with them. I felt the same fear, anger and joy they did. The plot was quite consistent and even with the cases of the “after-thought” knowledge, it was as if real events were being revealed or reported.
As I said, I enjoyed the book and recommend it to any who read romance in general and historical romances in particular.