All of London knows the Duke of Rutherford has position and wealth. They also whisper that he’s dissolute, devilish, and determinedly unwed. So why, everyone is asking, has he hired a governess?
When Miss Lily Russell crosses the threshold of the Duke of Rutherford’s stylish townhouse, she knows she has come face to face with sensual danger. For this is no doting papa. Rather, his behavior is scandalous, and his reputation rightly earned. And his pursuit of her is nearly irresistible—but resist she must for the sake of her pupil.
As for the duke himself, it was bad enough when his unknown child landed on his doorstep. Now Lily, with her unassuming beauty, has aroused his most wicked fantasies—and, shockingly, his desire to change his wanton ways. He’s determined to become worthy of her, and so he asks for her help in correcting his behavior.
But Lily has a secret, one that, if it becomes known, could change everything…
This charming 1840 English historical launches a series from Frampton (What Not to Bare). Marcus, who has been Duke of Rutherford for only six months, gives up aimless debauchery when unexpectedly confronted with fatherhood. He swiftly hires a young woman named Lily as tutor to his daughter, Rose. Marcus seeks purpose in life, while Lily hopes his patronage will boost her employment agency for unfortunates. Their mutual attraction intensifies through sparkling banter and meaningful discussion, spiced by slow-building steamy physical intimacy, until the truth of Lily's past potentially ends their hopes for the future. Their love for Rose, who is a realistic four-year-old rather than a plot device, adds another dimension to their relationship and escalates the reader's emotional investment in their fate. Frampton superbly balances passion with humor, avoiding clich through rich characterization. The result is warm, kindhearted, and utterly delightful.
fun, dialogue driven read that while slow to grow soon picks up pace
Historical romance is my go-to for fun and transportation read, and Megan Frampton has penned a fun early-Victorian era story that is very modern in feel. Writing historical romances today often has authors in a quandary: adhering to the rigidity of social norms and behaviors, using language and dialog to ‘fatten’ the plot, or to use the historical references as guideposts and major touchstones in the story, giving readers a ‘sense’ of the differences but reacting in a wholly modern way. This story seems to play a bit fast and loose with convention that serves the interactions well, but leaves a sense of unreality in setting and conclusion when the last page is turned.
That in no way makes this a bad read – this is a fun, dialogue driven read that while slow to grow soon picks up pace and gives readers plenty of laughs, moments to ‘oooh’, and some serious steam between the rather hapless Duke and his newly hired governess.
Lily is a wonderful character, prone to shocking (for the time) plain speech and an iron-willed determination to do the best for her charge. Her interactions with the Duke, Marcus are cleverly phrased and wholly upending for Marcus: he’s entirely too caught up in the mad scramble to ‘make something’ of a life that was dedicated to drinking, carousing and gambling.
These are two characters that are easy to like and invest in, with their frequent (and sadly sometimes all too frequent) insets of interior monologue that just felt immature contrasting sharply with their own senses of duty, propriety and their conversations. A slowly building romance between Marcus and Lily is often the sidenote to the growth and determination that Marcus shows for taking charge of his life, and his forgotten child, all with Lily’s help to become the best man he can be. Frampton does make the effort to ‘explain away’ the behavioral inconsistencies that are far from the acceptable norm, and does so with reasonable belief, and uses language appropriate to the time, even as the behavior is often far out of convention.
I enjoyed this story, even with the rather puzzling ending: Frampton has a deft hand with dialogue and moving the story forward via conversations and description, keeping the reader engaged and entertained.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Too wordy for me
This story was well written. No typos or bad punctuation. The plot made sense and moved along well. The dialogue was funny a times. The characters were ok, but not great
What I didn't like:
Instant mysterious, attraction.
Jokes I just didn't get.
Inner dialogue that goes on and on with both characters. I skipped ahead a lot. It seemed the author was trying to build the sexual tension with the characters thoughts and doubts. Didn't work for me. They even interrupted the sexual scenes with their extra musings. It was distracting to say the least.
You may like this book. It has recommends from other well known authors, so I would get a sample first. I'm fully aware that other readers like books I don't.
This is a sweet love story with two likable leads plus a delightful little girl - and cats. Who could ask for more from a romance novel?