Published by Loveswept on November 10th 2015
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Perfect for fans of Mary Balogh and Eloisa James, Sharon Cullen’s seductive new historical romance ignites as a shy country girl and a hotheaded duke surrender to dangerous temptations.
Lady Sara Emerson was jolted out of her dull provincial life by her cousin’s murder. Now that the killer seems to be targeting her, Sara seeks help from the man who was once her cousin’s fiancé, Gabriel Ferguson, Duke of Rossmoyne. With his towering frame and fiery personality, Ross cuts an intimidating figure. Living under his protection, however, has its own hazards—like the sudden urge Sara feels to take their relationship in new, exquisitely inappropriate directions.
Dazzled by the social graces of his betrothed, Ross never noticed her shy, blushing cousin. Looking at Sara now, though, he’s drawn to her lovely eyes and calm disposition. Funny how a year away from the hustle and bustle of the ton changes a man. But Ross has no intention of allowing a woman to interfere with his plan to return overseas. He will simply capture the murderer and set sail once again. The problem is, with her beguiling lips and heavenly touch, Sara makes him never want to leave home—or his bed—again.
~~Reviewed by Monique~~
Sharon Cullen perfectly captures the spirit of the Victorian murder mystery in her historical romantic suspense: THE RELUCTANT DUCHESS. For the fifth day in a row, Lady Sara Emerson is at the Duke of Rossmoyne’s door asking for an audience. Gabriel Ferguson, “Ross”, as the Duke is known to his friends, shuns society but finally caves in and agrees to see the very persistent Sara. After her cousin Meredith’s burial, Ross has told Sara’s family that if they ever needed his help, he would be there for them; he was betrothed to Meredith, and he understood how distressed they were after her murder. Ross is distraught when Sara shows him the reason for her visit: she has been receiving threatening letters mentioning Meredith’s demise, and Ross agrees to help her, along with the Scotland Yard inspector who investigated the case. If Ross had thought Sara determined, he never expected the quiet, bookish spinster to be such a force of nature. The Duke is a rather haughty man, and even two years after the death of his fiancée, he has remained dour. Unassuming Sara is the polar opposite of Meredith, and yet he finds himself drawn to her, even more so as Sara’s safety becomes paramount, and he insists that living in his home would offer her more protection.
THE RELUCTANT DUCHESS is as much a romance as it is a Victorian murder mystery, and Ms. Cullen succeeds on both counts. The pace is somewhat leisurely as Ross and Sara investigate the murder, and doing so, they get to know each other better. In spite of their first impressions, they discover that they have a lot in common, but for the persistent shadow of Meredith. THE RELUCTANT DUCHESS has a rather Gothic feel, which surprised and delighted me, and I applaud the author’s thorough research as she paints a most convincing portrait of Victorian society in all its aspects. The characters feel authentic, the romance evolves organically albeit not so smoothly, and I was kept guessing until the end as to whom the murderer was. Very well done!
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.