A fun new Regency from Callie Hutton, on sale now for 99 cents! Plus, get entered to win a beautiful necklace and earring set!
Title: THE DUKE’S QUANDARY
Author: Callie Hutton
eBook: 285 pages
Release Date: March 10, 2014
Drake, Duke of Manchester is searching the Marriage Mart for a perfect bride. He wants a woman who is poised, sophisticated, and worthy of the title Duchess. But most of all, he wants a woman who does not want the useless emotion of love.
Socially awkward Miss Penelope Clayton isn’t meant for marriage. A serious botanist, she has no desire to wed, so being forced by her guardian to participate in the Season to find a husband is torture. She’ll never fit in with the ton, especially if they discover she’s been pretending to be a man within the scientific community.
As Drake’s family makes over Penelope, turning her from naive bluestocking to enchanting debutante, he is put upon to introduce her to society and eligible bachelors. Despite dance lessons and new gowns, Penelope is the opposite of poised and sophisticated as she stumbles from one mishap to the next. Why then, does he find it so hard to resist her?
It took a chapter or two for me to really get into the newest book from Callie Hutton, The Duke’s Quandry, but once I did I was hooked! It was impossible not to love Penelope and Drake, even when Drake was at his most priggish and you wanted the smack him upside the head to make him see sense. Penelope’s constant running into things and knocking things over, not to mention the ubiquitous dirt on her person, made it impossible not to love her. Though it does make Drake a little crazy…
Once the ritual of pouring tea and passing around the tray of small cakes was completed, the duchess turned to Miss Clayton. “Tell us a little bit about yourself, Miss Clayton.”
“Oh, dear. Well, um, first off, please call me Penelope.”
Drake watched as the saucer in Miss Clayton’s hand tipped precariously toward the floor, a slight wave of liquid splashing from the cup onto the saucer. He had to quell the urge to reach over and right it, afraid after his initial rudeness, she might flee again.
“I have lived in America—Boston to be exact—most of my life.”
“So that is where you acquired that unusual accent,” Mary said.
Penelope blushed prettily, and the saucer tipped further, sloshing more liquid. Mesmerized by what no one else in the room seemed to notice, he tightened his jaw and tried to focus on the conversation.
Yes, he’s just a tad bit uptight. Not to mention nervous about living up to the example set by his father–at least, the father that exists in his memory. Fortunately, he has a mother, five sisters, and now Penelope to help him loosen up and set more realistic expectations for himself.
Though of course it takes a while.
Watching Penelope endear herself to Drake’s family is marvelous, as is seeing him fight off his attraction to her. Naturally he’s wildly unsuccessful, and at about three-quarters of the way through the event happens that everyone knows will occur from page one. I’m not going to tell you how it happens–you’ll of course want to find out for yourself! Rest assured, though, that even as a new duchess, Penelope still has some awkwardly charming moments:
“Your Grace,” Lady Coventry said, “we must plan an afternoon ride in Hyde Park sometime soon.”
Penelope turned toward the dowager duchess. The dowager smiled at her. She smiled back. The silence grew. Her mother-in-law’s smile grew wider. Penelope began to fidget, suddenly aware that everyone was looking at her. She turned to Drake, tilting her head in question.
“My dear, Lady Coventry is speaking to you.”
She pulled back. “Me?”
He grinned. “Yes. You are now ‘Your Grace.’”
Her mouth formed a circle. “Oh.”
The group erupted in laughter. Drake squeezed her hand, the mirth in his eyes warming her.
The botanist aspect was extremely interesting–Penelope’s enthusiasm for her passion is contagious. Her scientific mind also makes some interesting connections at unexpected times:
“Has my mother spoken to you about what will happen tonight?”
“Yes, but it wasn’t necessary, since in my work with cross-breeding, I have discovered that in order to reproduce you must take two different species. Well, actually not different species per se, but–” She stopped when in one forward motion he pulled her into his arms and lowered his head. His kiss started slow but soon turned burning and needy.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed Penelope and Drake’s story. The first book in the series, The Elusive Wife, which tells the story of Drake’s best friend Coventry’s HEA (his wife was the speaker who caused the newly married Penelope such confusion in the excerpt above) has been in my TBR pile for a while now. It can definitely consider itself officially “moved up”.
Rating: 4 stars / B+ rating
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Callie Hutton always knew those stories she made up in her head would be written down one day. There was nowhere else for them to go. After years of writing articles and interviews for magazines and company newsletters, she decided to tackle writing a book. That was back in 2010. Now with twelve books under her belt, and seven more contracted, the relief at having somewhere to tell those stories is wonderful. She lives in Oklahoma with her husband, adult children and three dogs.
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