BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Mary Balogh's The Secret Mistress.
All of London is abuzz over the imminent arrival of Wulfric Bedwyn, the reclusive, cold-as-ice Duke of Bewcastle, at the most glittering social event of the season. Some whisper of a tragic love affair. Others say he is so aloof and passionless that not even the greatest beauty could capture his attention. But on this dazzling afternoon, one woman did catch the duke’s eye—and she was the only female in the room who wasn’t even trying. Christine Derrick is intrigued by the handsome duke…all the more so when he invites her to become his mistress.
What red-blooded woman wouldn’t enjoy a tumble in the bedsheets with a consummate lover—with no strings and no questions asked. An infuriating lady with very definite views on men, morals, and marriage, Christine confounds Wulfric at every turn. Yet even as the lone wolf of the Bedwyn clan vows to seduce her any way he can, something strange and wonderful is happening. Now for a man who thought he’d never lose his heart, nothing less than love will do.
With her trademark wit, riveting storytelling, and sizzling sexual sparks, Mary Balogh once again brings together two polar opposites: an irresistible, high-and-mighty aristocrat and the impulsive, pleasure-loving woman who shows him what true passion is all about. A man and a woman so wrong for each other, it can result only in the perfect match.
The long-awaited conclusion to Balogh's Regency-era romance series, focusing on the eccentric Bedwyn family, possesses the same charm and richness of character as her previous books (Slightly Tempted, etc.), but its plot is slightly more conventional. Balogh's fans have longed to see Wulfric, the imperturbable duke of Bewcastle, fall in love, and Balogh has created the perfect heroine to fell him Christine Derrick, a lively but lowborn young widow who has a habit of getting herself into very improper situations. The two meet at a sedate house party, where Christine accidentally spills lemonade on the duke and then dares to laugh at him. Wulfric disapproves of Christine's working-class background and unladylike manners, but he can't help being enchanted by her effervescent personality. For her part, Christine disdains Wulf's icy, superior attitude, but she's drawn to him physically. As fans of the genre will anticipate, opposites attract no matter how hard the hero and heroine fight against it, and an unplanned sexual encounter complicates their feelings even further. Although the story lacks some of the dramatic tension of its predecessors, particularly Slightly Sinful, this book rings with humor and delightful echoes of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. All in all, it's a memorable conclusion to a charming series.
Such a great romantic book.
Not Great But Still Engaging
This is a sweet story that goes on a bit too long and winds around a few too many curves. I would’ve liked to have seen more romantic scenes between the two main characters and less “will they won’t they” dramatics. Strong writing and good fun in many places but not for those looking for a steamy read.
I love most of thjis author's books but this one is the best as far as I'm concerned. I agree with the reviewer who compared the hero to Mr. Darcy. He is so stuffy in the beginning and I had to laugh at how the heroine was his undoing. She is a charming character.