The Day of the Duchess (Scandal & Scoundrel #3) by Sarah MacLean

The Day of the Duchess (Scandal & Scoundrel #3) by Sarah MacLean International Cover

The Day of the Duchess (Scandal & Scoundrel #3) by Sarah MacLean US American Cover

You have a choice of two covers: the 1990s-teen-with-messy-hair cover the rest of us get, or the half-naked dislocated-neck cover from the US!

The one woman he will never forget…

Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only one problem—he already has one.

The one man she will never forgive…

After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow cannot resist.

A love that neither can deny…

The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their broken past, he can give her forever, making every day…

The Day of the Duchess (Scandal & Scoundrel #3) by Sarah MacLean

This is no Regency romance: it’s set in the – uh – fashionably “interesting” 1830s, the ten years of the nineteenth century with some truly hilarious outfits! I enjoy an author brave enough to tackle that generation.

1830s Fashion

When I first heard about this series I was adamant I’d never read it. A whole historical romance series based on modern-day gossip magazine headlines? The Kardashians do pre-Victorian England? No thanks.

However: since I started hearing about The Day of the Duchess several months ago I thought there might be… something… that really appealed to me. The blurb made the story seem like it was written specifically for me, and so – despite not having read the others in the series, and having ZERO background information to understand the characters – I started The Day of the Duchess with *expectations*!

While I found the sisters in the family obscenely anachronistic (and gave up trying to tell them – and their near-identical names – apart), it’s nice to have a series where the women are portrayed as looking out for each other.

I say it all the time, but I do prefer reunion stories to pretty much any other trope, and so the author started this story a few points ahead. These are two characters who have gone through terrible things, and done (the hero in particular) terrible things, but I think they came out of it more mature, with a complex and fractured relationship, and it made for excellent angst.

I think missing the setup in the previous books worked in my favour in some ways, as it seems other readers went into this one already disliking the hero. I didn’t start with that bias. It made it easier for me to like him and believe his remorse.

The premise of the story is absurd, however. In her author’s notes, MacLean explains that the divorce itself isn’t too much of a stretch, but then there’s also that earldom won in a card game.

And what comes after that certainly is a stretch to believe. Once the couple agrees to divorce, the hero makes the heroine attend a house party to select his new wife. It was The Bachelor, circa 1836.

Only in a romance book…!!

I stayed on board with most of the insanity of the plot because I liked the two lead characters (and some of the side characters) enough to invest in all the insane directions they were going. However, some readers ARE (justifiably) going to be unhappy with the infertility plotline and the overly sweet epilogue.

I AM very confused why an author who surprised me with her beautiful, emotional writing, her use of interesting archaic words, and attempts Brit-speak (‘I’m rubbish at this.’ and ‘He’s proper horrid.’) messes up badly in one big way.

If you’ve ‘landed on your ass you’ve just fallen on your donkey. It is a phrase used numerous times throughout the book. The words ARSE and ASS have different meanings (one’s your derriere, the other is a farm animal) and aren’t even pronounced the same way; it’s just frustrating to see HR authors make this mistake at this point.

There were a few other stick-out-like-a-sore-thumb anachronisms and major Americanisms in the otherwise great writing. (Titled ladies saying ‘damn right’? ‘Sidekick’?) I’d heard this author uses a lot of modern, non-British language, and had been prepared for it, but it still grates.

The term “wallpaper romance” is used to describe books that all but do away with historical manners and historical accuracy, and this – my first Sarah MacLean read – definitely has those elements to it. However, trashy Kardashian themes aside, there was something more here. There was some serious emotion, and there were some serious themes in amongst the insanity. I am glad I gave this book a chance.


Review copy provided by NetGalley.

2 thoughts on “The Day of the Duchess (Scandal & Scoundrel #3) by Sarah MacLean

  1. Pingback: The Week: 17th – 23rd July – Sonya's Stuff

  2. Pingback: Sarah MacLean: How Trump killed off my romantic lead – Sonya's Stuff

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