Monday, November 12, 2018

When A Duke Loves A Woman by Lorraine Heath

Rating: ★★★ | Sins For All Seasons #2 |320 pages | Avon | Historical Romance | 8/21/2018

The Sins For All Seasons series follows a family of illegitimate siblings trying to rise above their station in society as outcast. I was excited to read  When A Duke Loves A Woman because it features Gillie Trewlove, an 29-year-old Victorian woman who is doing just fine running her bar and doing her best to make her impoverished Victorian neighboorhood a better place.

Gillie's daily routine is shaken up when she rescues the Duke of Thornley from a violent mugging on her front steps and (reluctantly) nurses him back to health and agrees to help him find the runaway bride that has led him to the seedy underbelly of London. Gillie and Thorne from two different worlds but the more time they spend trying to find the missing bride, the deeper their feelings become.

This book was middle of the road for me, and I think it's because this book kept setting up and then quickly resolving the conflict/tension. First,  Gillie nurses Thorne back to health who, due to his injuries can't leave her flat. That plot abruptly ends and then they start looking for his missing bride--then the bride shows up and breaks things off with Thornely dismantling the tension with half the book left. The characters spend the rest of the book pursuing each other and there is an obligatory ball, but I wanted more conflict.

With that said it had an enjoyable ending that had some of the emotional impact that was blurbed on the cover. Lorraine Heath never lets you forget the lacks of rights for women in Victorian England. I was also surprised (slight spoiler) that we never find out who Gillie's parents are or why she was abandoned. Maybe it will come up in other books?

I am all for books with non-traditional historical heroines and want to see more in Romancelandia.  As for this series, I'm curious enough to see how the background characters in this book come together in book 3.

I like how the silver lettering on the print cover is holographic.  Also--and yes,  I know photography can be limited-- I think Avon missed out on a chance to do something different with this cover. Gillie is described as having a pixie cut (but she does wear a wig at one point) and Thorne wears glasses and has a cane for part of the book. Those additions would have made a more interesting cover.

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