Publisher - Piatkus Publication Date - 25th June 2013 Hardback - 400 pages Genre - Historical Romance
Source - Received from publisher for review
Rating - 4 out of 5: I really liked it
Reviewed by - Chrissie
Book Info - Simon Hawkins, Duke of Trent, is no stranger to scandal. Rumours 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 honour, 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 ladies' maids - or so Sarah believes, until a stolen kiss sparks a passion that could be her ultimate undoing. As the couple begin 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 agonising choice: sacrifice his family's future or break Sarah's heart.
My Thoughts - This is the first novel I have read by this author, but as I've been on a bit of a historical romance kick lately I knew that I really wanted to read it as soon as it arrived through my door. And I have to say that I really loved it and can't wait to read the rest of this series as well as more of the author's back list.
For me, this book really had it all, with a heart-warming yet credible romance, characters that are believable and loveable, and mystery and intrigue coming from two different plots. All of this makes it impossible to put the book down.... you just have to know if Simon finds his mother and how he manages to resolve the problem with the blackmailer. The pacing of the plot is well worked out with parts that are fast moving and full of action, and slower parts that focus more on the growing love between Simon and Sarah, which makes it a pleasant and enjoyable read.
I absolutely loved Simon. He's doing his best to bring honour back to his family name after the behaviour of his parents ripped it to shreds. This means that sometimes he can come across as rather stiff and formal as he feels he must always be on his best behaviour but it's obvious to the reader that his heart is in the right place. The only time he really feels he can be himself is when he's on his own with Sarah and they share some very sweet and tender moments together.
Sarah was probably my favourite character in this book. She is quiet, hard-working, loyal, humble. She loves Simon a lot and this comes across with every thought and action she has. She's been in love with him ever since she was a little girl and that is very obvious. She is also intelligent and shows a lot of strength when she needs to throughout the novel. Simon's mother, the duchess who has gone missing, has been a big part of Sarah's life ever since she was young, and she feels the same worry that Simon and the rest of the family do, yet everyday she pulls herself together to be the one to take care of the family so that they can focus on finding their mother. There are also a couple of examples of her strength later on in the book, but as they include major spoilers I won't mention them here. But all-in-all I found Sarah to be a truly inspirational character.
Summary - This book had everything that I could have wished for from a very good historical romance. I absolutely loved it and can't wait to read more from this author in the future.
Other books in the series:
1. The Duchess Hunt
2. The Rogue's Proposal (November 2013)
3. The Scoundrel's Seduction (May 2014)