18 April 2017

Blame It on the Duke by Leonora Bell (The Disgraceful Dukes #3)

Summary from Goodreads:
Have you heard?
The future Duke of Barrington has just been gambled away by his father. To an heiress!
The delicious details thus far...

Nicolas, Lord Hatherly, never intended to marry—nor add to the “mad” Hatherly line—but now he must honor his father’s debt to a social-climbing merchant or lose the family estate.

A notoriously wild marquess, won by her father at a game of cards, is the very last thing Miss Alice Tombs wants. She’s spent the last three seasons repelling suitors in spectacular fashion so she’d be at liberty to explore the world. She’ll just have to drive this one away as well.

Until Nick proposes an utterly tempting arrangement: one summer together to prove the legitimacy of their union, then Alice is free to travel while Nick revels in the time he has left before the Hatherly Madness takes hold.

It will be easy to walk away after a few months of make-believe wedded bliss—won’t it? Alice and Nick are about to find out...one sultry night at a time.

This ought to be fun . . .

I've been enjoying Leonora Bell's romances and Blame It On the Duke is a very nice third entry in the Disgraceful Dukes series. This installment has a delicious twist on the old "gambled the wife/mistress/sister/daughter away" trope: Hatherly's mad father (the titular Duke) gambles him away to a flush-in-the-pockets baronet with a daughter he wants to marry off in the most social-climbing matter possible. The daughter, Alice, is actually an accomplished translator (of Sanksrit) and while a Society husband would be a hindrance, the rakish Hatherly - who doesn't want a wife or children hanging around to watch him go mad - is perfect for her plans (escape England and her mother). Of course, those pesky things like hearts and feelings get in the way.

Bell does a much better job with this book in balancing her light elements (translation, bedroom scenes, one sweet house cat named Kali) with the dark (there's quite a bit about the inhuman conditions of insane asylums of the period). And Bell now has three side characters she could choose from for the next book....

ALSO! Princess Bride jokes!

Dear FTC: I received a digital galley from the publisher via Edelweiss.

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