Publisher: Amberjack Publishing
Date of publication: April 17th, 2018
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Series: The Macalisters
A Suitable Affair – Book 1
The Perfect Duchess – Book 2
Book synopsis (from Goodreads):
Andrew Macalister, oft regarded as the Stone Duke of Bradstone, hates his annual birthday ball tradition. He dislikes facing those around him who only see him for his title, and has given up on a chance to live a normal life. That is, until he spots Lady Clara Masson across the ballroom. Clara’s twin sister is the woman who infamously jilted Andrew at the altar five years ago, but little does Clara know, Andrew had been smitten with her since childhood, and he finds her presence a ray of sunshine in a dreary dukedom.
When Clara’s life is threatened by her evil brother, Johnathan, Andrew must do the only thing he can think of to save her: propose marriage. Between Clara’s trust issues and Andrew’s battle with societal norms, two find romance under dangerous circumstances.
I’m going to admit, I read the reviews for The Perfect Duchess before I decided to review the book. With the majority of the reviews being favorable, I decided to take my chances with it. While I am glad that I read it, I was left feeling a little overwhelmed by everything that went on in the book. I felt that some of the action should have been cut. The storyline with Clara’s abusive brother was more than enough to carry the book. Anything else cluttered the plotline and dragged it down.
The Perfect Duchess was set in my favorite era, Regency England. Like I have stated in other reviews, I love this era. Something about it calls to me. I enjoy reading about the exploits of the ton. I love it when the bluestocking gets the Duke, Earl, or Count. I love reading about the different activities that the upper class did. I find reading about the Season fascinating. If you can’t tell, I have a passion for this era.
I liked that the author made Clara the underdog in the book. Her reputation was in tatters because of horrendous (for that time) rumors. She also carried the scandal of her sister jilting Andrew at the altar. So she was persona non grata in the ton, even though she was the daughter of an Earl. I thought that she handled the abuse thrown at her with grace. I know that I wouldn’t have been as gracious as her if I heard what people were saying about me.
I couldn’t get a handle on Andrew for a good part of the book. The author chose to make him unreadable. I don’t have a problem with that but she made him so unreadable that when he did certain things, it took me by surprise. I also didn’t get how him becoming a Duke had an effect on anything until Clara and Andrew had a talk about her brother. Then the lightbulb went over my head. I don’t know how I didn’t put two and two together.
I actually felt bad for Clara’s brother, Jonathan. I know, feeling bad for the bad guy. He didn’t ask to feel the way he felt and it was bad timing that things happened the way they did. I couldn’t imagine being gay during that time. But, my feeling bad for him only lasted through that part of the book. He did some awful things to Clara and her sister for money. Any pity I had for him was washed away when it was revealed exactly what he put her twin through.
Clara did drive me up a wall. I could understand her trust issues. But there was a time in the book where I was eye-rolling and going “Seriously“. I did like her but still. She should have trusted Andrew. She knew that he wouldn’t do anything to hurt her.
I loved the excerpts at the beginning of each chapter of the gossip rag. I laughed at how the full names of everyone talked about were not used. But you knew who they were. I did feel bad for Clara. It was like she was living her life under a microscope and this column was picking her apart.
I didn’t get the storylines of Clara’s sister, her secret and the inheritance being introduced so late in the story. While it showed why Jonathan was doing what he was doing, I felt that it dragged the book down. Made it murky and confusing. I had to reread those parts to get them straight in my head. That is not something I like doing.
The sex between Clara and Andrew was hot but I felt that it was also a bit forced. I would have been fine with them not having sex and letting their chemistry continue to the end of the book. I do feel that them having sex did let some of the oomph out of their relationship.
The end of The Perfect Duchess was your typical historical romance ending. An HEA (which I liked). I am wondering which sibling the author will write about next!!
What I liked about The Perfect Duchess:
A) The excerpts for the gossip magazine
B) Set in Regency England
C) Clara’s underdog status
What I disliked about The Perfect Duchess:
A) Plotlines introduced in the last half of the book.
B) Mark was too unreadable
C) Sex killed the chemistry
I would give The Perfect Duchess an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is violence. There is not any language. I wouldn’t let anyone under the age of 21 read this book.
There are trigger warnings in The Perfect Duchess. They are: abuse (emotional and physical) and bullying
I am on the fence if I would reread The Perfect Duchess. I am also on the fence if I would recommend this book to family and friends. If I did recommend, I would give a heads up about the trigger warning.
I would like to thank Amberjack Publishing and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Perfect Duchess.
All opinions in this review of The Perfect Duchess are mine.
**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**