When A Duchess Says I Do
Duncan Wentworth tried his hand at rescuing a damsel in distress once long ago, and he’s vowed he’ll never make that mistake again. Nonetheless, when he comes across Matilda Wakefield in the poacher-infested and far-from-enchanted woods of his estate, decency compels him to offer aid to a lady fallen on hard times. Matilda is whip-smart, she can read Duncan’s horrible penmanship, and when she wears his reading glasses, all Duncan can think about is naughty Latin poetry.
Matilda cannot entrust her secrets to Duncan without embroiling him in the problems that sent her fleeing from London, but neither can she ignore a man who’s honorable, a brilliant chess player, and maddeningly kissable. She needs to stay one step ahead of the enemies pursuing her, though she longs to fall into Duncan’s arms. Duncan swears he has traded in his shining armor for a country gentleman’s muddy boots, but to win the fair maid, he’ll have to ride into battle one more time.
This was my first book by Grace Burrowes, but I definitely plan to read more by her. The story and characters are remarkably well-crafted, and I fell in love with Matilda and Duncan. Shout out for amazing side characters as well: I adored Duncan’s family, and basically need books for Matilda’s father’s lackeys ASAP.
Most of the book is told in the third person limited POV from either Matilda or Duncan’s perspective, with some shorter sections from Lt. Col. Parker and Matilda’s father (Wakefield) that help fill in just enough details for the reader to be compelling, but I was truly kept guessing until the very end just whom (and what) Matilda is running from. Despite this suspenseful element to the plot, the overall book seemed to move fairly slowly – not plodding, but at a sedate and serene pace.
The romance between Matilda and Duncan is also more muted than passionate, which I’m not sure if that’s just Grace Burrowes’ writing style, or if instead it’s because of the intensely cerebral nature of both romantic leads. They’re both in their own heads a lot, so there’s a lot more thinking through things than action on the page. At the same time it’s very intricate and intriguing, and I love the keen insights they both get into each others’ character by this super-focused, highly intelligent observation they’re both masters of. Basically if you find the game of chess titillating, you’re going to love this book. If chess bores or confuses you, this might be a little slow and cerebral for you.
This is the second book in the Rogues to Riches series, but can be read as a stand alone with some minor spoilers for the first book, My One and Only Duke.
An copy this book was provided by the publisher for review.