A lady with a noble mission. A duke looking for redemption. A forbidden love that cannot be denied…
Lady Daphne Hallworth is ready to celebrate the holidays with her family. But when they accidentally leave her home alone, Daphne uses the time to work on her dream—opening a home for unwed mothers. But her quest isn’t problem-free: She’s in a battle to win the property for the home against her brother’s best friend-turned-enemy, Paul Barstowe, Duke of Southart. And that’s not all: someone has stolen her personal diary, which holds secrets that could devastate her family. Daphne has always harboured private feelings for the man her family scorns…though perhaps striking a bargain with the handsome Duke will solve both their problems?
Paul, long considered good for nothing, aims to open a hospital to honor his brother and restore his reputation. So when a conflict over the land brings him straight into Daphne’s life, they make a deal: He will help her find her diary if Daphne can change her family’s opinion of him. But before he can win her family’s affection, he has to win hers first. Maybe love was the answer to their family feud all along?
I read Janna MacGregor’s debut novel last year, and commented that the author had talent, that the opening of the book was brilliant, but that it was a little confusing when it came to all the characters.
Because I liked the description of this one, and wanted to give MacGregor’s work another try, I picked up a review copy of this, the fourth book in the series. Again, I found the author’s writing to be solid, but I also had some issues with the overall structure of the book.
For me, it’s always problematic when an author provides no date for the setting of their book. Even if I’m to assume The Good, the Bad, and the Duke is set in the nineteenth century – when? Is there a George on the throne, or Victoria? Are the characters’ portraits painted, or photographed? Can they travel by train or automobile, or is the carriage still their only option? Must they write to each other, or are telegrams and telephone calls available now? Has Napoleon been disposed of? Is there a war in Crimea?
As we were given no date, I have no idea.
Again, the prologue was very well-written. However, the heroine is nine in that scene, but came across as twenty-nine. Even so, it was a sweet little scene.
We then jump forwards about a decade and a half to pick up the main body of the story, and that’s where I started getting confused. This definitely isn’t a book that can be read as a standalone. There are characters I was unfamiliar with everywhere – and their offspring. Right from the first few pages there are references to things that happened in past books that I had no idea about. If they had to be mentioned, I don’t think it should have been so early on.
After several chapters, I realised my mind was wandering. Fans of past books in this series are probably going to really enjoy this one, too.
For me, however, it couldn’t hold my attention.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.