All the Duke of Dunfallon wants this holiday season is a respite from the machinations of the matchmakers. When pursued by a particularly determined would-be duchess, he ducks into the West Bartholomew Street Lending Library. Librarian Emerald Armstrong sees a dapper gent in a bit of a hurry and mistakes Dunfallon for a curate overdue for his assignation with West Bart’s theological collection.
Dunfallon is intrigued by Emmie’s love of books, her disdain for society’s games, and her ferocious generosity of spirit toward all of the library’s patrons. She has no patience with posturing, and thus he takes the risk of admitting his true identity. To his surprise, Emmie doesn’t mind all that much that he’s a duke—some things cannot be helped—but she is far less willing to keep silent about Dunfallon’s other secret, the one he has been guarding from even his fellow peers.
If an honest woman is worth more than rubies, what will a duke sacrifice to earn her love?
Note: This story was half of Yuletide Gems, a novella duet originally published as a web store/library exclusive in 2022.
a unique and satisfying resolution
Emerald Armstrong, believing herself to be firmly on the shelf of spinsterhood after a humiliating broken engagement, immerses herself in the running of the West Bartholomew Street Lending Library. When the Duke of Dunfallon ducks into the library to evade an overzealous tiara pursuing maiden, he is mistaken for a curate-in-training volunteer that Miss Armstrong was expecting. Ordered by the no-nonsense, but alluring Miss Armstrong, Dunfallon proceeds to haul coal and dust the library. Attracted to Miss Armstrong’s intelligence, her outspoken nature, and her compassion for the children of the street, he agrees to return the next day and the next and the next. The longer he is in her company, the more he realizes that he has to come clean about his true name and status, but he is increasingly reluctant to rock the boat. As expected, “Worth More Than Rubies” has an HEA, but the voyage to that ending has the twists, turns, and detours common to Ms. Burrowes work. In each novel, the reader reaches a point where the H and h can’t possibly surmount the obstacles in their path, and yet, Ms. Burrowes always comes up with a unique and satisfying resolution. I highly recommend this novella. This book was provided by the author without any requirement for a review, positive or otherwise. All opinions are 100% my own.