Simon Hawkins, duke of Trent, is no stranger to scandal. Rumors and innuendo have darkened the House of Trent for decades, and it has fallen to Simon to restore his tattered family name. He lives by a strict code of honor, but when he is called home to investigate his mother’s disappearance, the distinguished duke will tangle with temptation. For there waits the only woman he has ever loved-and the last woman he should desire . . .
Sarah Osborne has spent her life dreaming of Simon’s touch. But dukes do not long for lady’s maids—or so Sarah believes, until a stolen kiss sparks a passion that could be her ultimate undoing. As the couple begins a forbidden romance, a cunning enemy plots to destroy the duke and everything he loves. Now, caught in a blackmailer’s web, Simon faces an agonizing choice: sacrifice his family’s future or break Sarah’s heart.
Now... What did I think?
I've been reading Jennifer Haymore from the beginning of her career so, yes, I am a trifle prejudiced whenever she throws out a new novel. Guaranteed satisfaction, you get the idea? Just think of one author who takes up a good half, if not an entire three feet on your Keeper Shelf, and you'll know exactly what I mean. Jennifer Haymore is no exception, and she once again delivers in THE DUCHESS HUNT.
Unlike other historical readers and/or authors, I don't have a huge problem suspending disbelief IF the writer does a good job with the core story and character arcs. A duke falling for a lady's maid? Very unlikely even in this day and time--before you bring it up, Kate Middleton's above this station; trust me--much less the pompous, snooty, albeit fashionably fabulous period of the Regency. But we believe it in this story, mainly because Sarah and Simon have known each other since childhood, and children have a way of doing away with boundaries, do you not agree? I mean, seriously. Do you really think William and Harry liked making mud pies and riding bicycles any less than the average Joe Schmoe American boy?
You know they were running around the gardens of Windsor diggin' up the peonies.
Mischievous royals aside, in this story, the pre-existing love/fondness between Sarah and Simon made for delicious anticipation and a fast-moving plot, which I love when I'm pressed for time like I always am these days. Not to mention, Haymore threw in this well thought out mystery sub-plot that completely threw me for a loop, because oh no, this isn't just another hero/heroine historical love story--bat the eyelashes, stolen kisses, ooh is that decolletage? You hussy!--but a true-blue suspense with oodles of pent-up frustration, adventure, memorable secondary characters, and pretty backdrops.
Oh, and that was my favorite part by the way: the amazing description. Haymore's done her homework, and yet she doesn't punish you for it. Little tidbits here and there paint this beautiful world as though you were alongside Sarah and Simon. Sitting on crushed velvet squabs, admiring the English countryside, picking out expensive material for ballgowns, and the list goes on and on.
End verdict? Haymore does Regency right. Every. Time.
Don't miss out on THE DUCHESS HUNT, to be released this Tuesday, June 25, 2013.