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When a Duke is a Duc

The Duke's Bride
12 Dukes of Christmas
Erica Ridley
Historical fiction, Regency, Romance
WebMotion Historical Fiction ,
Pub Date 12 Nov 2019

Single father and confirmed bachelor Jack Skeffington is the mastermind behind an international smuggling ring, yet unable to control his rambunctious ten-year-old twins. What he needs is a stern, experienced, no-nonsense governess. What he gets is his business partner’s untouchable sister, whose delectable body Jack yearns to pull close.

Mademoiselle Désirée le Duc cannot wait to return to France and regain her lost vineyard. But to do so, she must repay crippling debt. Determined to buy freedom, she accepts temporary employment from an Englishman with a wicked smile and a big… wine cellar. His kisses taste like heaven and his arms feel like home. How can she choose between two families separated by the sea?

The 12 Dukes of Christmas is a series of heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. Twelve delightful romances… and plenty of delicious dukes!

Another nice story about Christmas / Cressmouth town and the characters we meet in it. We have met the French émigrés before – the 3 le Duc siblings. 2 brothers and a sister. And of course there is the town’s ‘smuggler’ / pirate / ex-privateer and supplier of good French brandy and wine from his partners.
A Privateer was an authorised pirate – that is someone who the Crown licensed to raid other ships and carry away their bounty. With a percentage of the profits going to the Crown of course to pay for the wars and the lack of taxes from the imported silks and wines that didn’t occur due to the war…
And then there was typhus. In Ireland 1816 a major epidemic of the disease produced 700,000 cases out of a population of 6,000,000. More major epidemics followed  in 1821 and 1836 and again in 1846 with the Potato Famine. It is a bacterial infection spread by parasites – and the most important form of typhus being epidemic typhus (borne by lice). Other forms are murine, or endemic, typhus (flea-borne); scrub typhus, or tsutsugamushi disease (mite-borne); and tick-borne typhus.
So another romance about a Duc rather than a Duke but pun or not it follows in the 12 stories about Dukes promised…

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A Duke – that’s new

Never Have I Ever With a Duke Book Cover Never Have I Ever With a Duke
Spitfire society no.1
by Darcy Burke
Romance
Darcy E Burke Publishing
Pub Date 27 Aug 2019

Graham Kinsley is shocked when he inherits a debt-ridden dukedom, and now he has just one month to repay a loan. He needs an heiress—or find a way to recoup the former duke’s losses. When he meets the alluring Arabella, he’s entranced. Unfortunately, she’s as bankrupt as he is, but if they work together they may be able to recover their fortunes. Though if they keep stealing kisses, they may lose their hearts instead.

Arabella Stoke can’t afford an attraction to the penniless duke who has vowed to help rescue her family from financial devastation. She needs to find a wealthy husband before her father succumbs to the stress of losing everything. However, as Graham brings them closer to finding the swindler who stole their money, the war between what they want and what they need may ruin them both.

This was a well written, interesting story based around the early version of a pyramid scheme. You encourage someone to invest with you a small amount, give a great return, then you obtain bigger and bigger amounts as the returns peter out.

Meantime, these investments fund the next mug investor’s return.

In a time when there are no computers. Few detectives or police, scattered newspapers, and very little formal money management (but lots of gossip about the great amounts to be made in trade, furs, gold etc in the coffee shops of the era), this type of scheme is easy to concoct. Employ a 3rd party as the intermediary and you are well hidden. Until someone figures out your scheme and plays detective.

All layered on top of a Regency Romance.

Nice.

Darcy Burke does this. She takes a social issue and weaves it into her story, from poverty, to female emancipation, to education. It gives the stories that bit extra.

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Who is to inherit?

Daring To Love The Duke's Heir Book Cover Daring To Love The Duke's Heir
The Beauchamp Heirs
by Janice Preston
Women's Fiction, Historical
Mills & Boon
Pub Date 27 Jun 2019

She’s totally unsuitable…

…to be his Duchess!

Part of The Beauchamp Heirs: Dominic Beauchamp, Lord Avon, is a powerful duke’s heir and it’s his duty to marry well. His bride must have impeccable breeding, manners and grace. But can anyone meet his exacting standards? Certainly not the irrepressible Liberty Lovejoy, who’s been thrust into society after years of being a provincial nobody. She’s too bold, too bubbly…so why is she the only lady he’s thinking about?

Oh the ‘Ton’ and their ideas that women should be seen and not heard – unless they agree with men of course – in  very simpering way.

A time it seems of true misogyny, at least in the ranks of the privileged few. Bearing in mind that very few women had any control over property, children or money. Let alone voting and politics. Not even the ability to pay bills it seems.

What therefore is a woman with a mind, a voice, and emotions going to do when her twin brother seems determined to fritter away their newly acquired fortune and she can’t control him or the money or…

Clearly she was not going to marry a Duke. Except that this is a love story and…

Nicely written and one feels for both the hero and heroine. The hero because he has been brought up in a world of expectations and the heroine because she has so little control over her life and yet is passionate and meddling..!

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I want a kitten!

The Wallflower Wager Book Cover The Wallflower Wager
Girl Meets Duke
by Tessa Dare
Romance , Women's Fiction
Mills & Boon
Pub Date 13 Aug 2019

The addictive new Regency read from the New York Times bestselling author that’s perfect for fans of Georgette Heyer!

They call him the Duke of Ruin.
To an undaunted wallflower, he's just the beast next door.

Wealthy and ruthless, Gabriel Duke clawed his way from the lowliest slums to the pinnacle of high society—and now he wants to get even.

Loyal and passionate, Lady Penelope Campion never met a lost or wounded creature she wouldn’t take into her home and her heart.

When her imposing—and attractive—new neighbour demands she clear out the rescued animals, Penny sets him a challenge. She will part with her precious charges, if he can find them loving homes.

Rising to the challenge, Gabriel, who wouldn’t know a loving home from a workhouse, is bewitched by the shyly pretty spinster who defies his every attempt to resist. But now she’s set her heart and mind on saving him…

Not if he ruins her first.

What if you really really don’t want to be married and are waiting out your Seasons until your parents are too bored to keep paying for them? But you would really like to keep every sad or hurt animal that you find. Especially kittens – lots of them. And will even go so far as to rescue a man!

But then your parents decide to do something about you? Send you away… because you are not really trying to get a husband are you? Or will you try?

I like this style of fiction – always have since Georgette Heyer times and these series of novels are only reminding me of her but with a small diversion towards modern times – the heroines are less missish and more feisty and not afraid to have sex with their suitors.

I am also, always a sucker for stories with cute animals and hedgehogs in pockets are the best yet.

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Is it right for a Lady?

A Debutante In Disguise
Eleanor Webster
Romance , Women's Fiction, Regency, Historical
Mills & Boon
30 May 2019

A society lady …with a secret!

Determined to help people, Letty Barton has a double life – she’s a trained doctor! No-one must know 'Dr Hatfield' is actually a woman. Called to an emergency, she comes face to face with her patient’s brother, Lord Anthony Ashcroft… They’d once shared a spark-filled flirtation – now he’s a brooding, scarred war-hero. But how long will it be before he recognises her, beneath her disguise, and the sparks begin to fly once more…?

This novel tackles yet another of the prejudices that were prevalent in Regency times – the fact that women were not permitted to become doctors.

It is good to see historical romance writers looking for more unusual, but politically and societally relevant, topics to cover within the trope. This novel was enjoyable and well written and looked at the Regency world and its constraints on how women were expected to employ themselves, especially the more gently born ones.

According to the Sicence Museum: “Women have always been central in providing medical care, whether offering remedies in the home, nursing or acting as herbalists. However, the medical profession has been male dominated for most of its history. In Europe this came about from the 1400s, when many cities and governments decided that only those trained in universities were allowed to formally practise medicine. As women were not allowed into the universities they could not gain a licence”.

[http://broughttolife.sciencemuseum.org.uk/broughttolife/themes/practisingmedicine/women]

Even though there was a woman doctor – Trotula – at the earliest European medical school in Salerno, Italy, in the 800s. And then there was Dr Laura Bassi, who was  appointed Professor of Anatomy at the University of Bologna in 1732.

This novel however, is clearly based very loosely on Margaret Bulkley (1792 or 1795-1865) AKA James Barry who  masqueraded as a male doctor for 46 years,  and who was a successful British Army surgeon serving in India and Cape Town, South Africa,

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