Frances Snowden can hardly believe her good fortune when she’s whisked away from her boring life by her sister who is now a duchess. Instead of becoming the third wife of her parents’ stuffy neighbor, she can be anything she wants: a doting aunt to her newborn niece, a debutante in London, or even an independent spinster. But when she meets and kisses a mysterious man on a walk in the countryside, she knows exactly what she desires—him.
David Langley, Earl of St. Ives, is resigned to marrying the dull woman his parents chose when he was a child. His future is suddenly, and happily, diverted when he encounters a captivating young woman who shows him everything he’s been missing. Ready to embark on a blissful life together, a long-buried feud between their families makes their marriage impossible. Nothing is more important than duty and family, but can he turn his back on love?
I really liked Fanny and David’s story. They were very sweet together, and how he got his unofficial title (the Duke of Kisses) was absolutely adorable. Her clumsiness added quite a few LOL moments, and it was so much fun to get glimpses into the future lives of past series characters along the way. I especially loved that she is Ivy’s sister (The Duke of Desire); and that we find out a little more about their family life both then and now. (If you haven’t read the other series books this one should do fine as a standalone–obviously you won’t know who all of those other people are, but you really don’t need to to appreciate Fanny and David’s story on its own.)
Some of the side plots felt a bit like distractions at times–the past Snowden/Langley drama and David’s deathbed promise to his father perhaps could have used a bit more fleshing out to make them feel more substantial–but it was nice that the relationship drama here didn’t come from something dumb that either of the main characters did to each other for a change. The next book is tantalizingly set up in the epilogue, though it did make me feel as if I’d missed or forgotten something that had happened to Sarah (I checked, and nope–she was fine when she was last on the page…) s0 now I’m twice as anxious to get to her book, which was clearly the author’s goal. Write fast, Ms. Burke! 😉
Rating: 4 stars / A-
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book