on March 28th 2017
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Dear Lady Truelove . . . I have fallen in love, truly and completely in love, for the first time. The man whom I hold in such passionate regard, however, is not of my station. He is a painter, a brilliant artist. Needless to say, my family would not approve . . .
Henry, Duke of Torquil, wouldn’t be caught reading the wildly popular “Dear Lady Truelove” column, but when its advice causes his mother to embark on a scandalous elopement, an outraged Henry decides the author of this tripe must be stopped before she can ruin any more lives. Though Lady Truelove’s identity is a closely guarded secret, Henry has reason to suspect the publisher of the notorious column, beautiful and provoking Irene Deverill, is also its author.
For Irene, it’s easy to advise others to surrender to passion, but when she meets the Duke of Torquil, she soon learns that passion comes at a price. When one impulsive, spur-of-the-moment kiss pulls her into a scorching affair with Henry, it could destroy her beloved newspaper, her career, and her independence. But in the duke’s arms, surrender is so, so sweet .
~~Reviewed by Amy~~
There’s just something about a take charge hero. They’re often overprotective, always in control, and usually come off as arrogant and bossy. I guess that’s why I thoroughly enjoy seeing them meet their match. And that’s exactly what happens in Laura Lee Guhrke’s The Truth About Love and Dukes when the Duke of Torquil meets a 19th century version of Dear Abby.
Henry Cavanaugh, Duke of Torquil, wanted a well-ordered life. Between his estates and his family, he had many responsibilities. They all depended on his sound judgement. As head of the family, it was his duty to ensure the well-being and security of all his relations. He was known for his controlled manner, disciplined life, and fastidious rules of conduct. His family joked that Henry was “born on the straight and narrow and never veered off it”. That was almost true. He had always adhered to the rules society dictated. Well, except for once when he allowed passion to dictate his course. He’d married a poor girl of insignificant family and had hidden her from the world and most of his family. Because of that lapse of judgement, he’d ruined both their lives. He’d believed in romantic love back then, but now duty required he make a suitable match and love could not play a part in it. From that time on, Henry had striven to become the man he was now. One with a rigid sense of duty and a firm moral compass. Henry thought he was master of his world and what happened in it. That is, until he met Irene Deverill and she obliterated that illusion.
Irene Deverill was known for her shrewd head, unsentimental heart, and thick skin. As publisher of Society Snippets, those qualities were a necessity. She’d taken over her family’s newspaper when her father’s love of drink and lack of business savvy had destroyed it. In less than a year, she’d made the paper a raging success. By replacing the “serious and important” events of London with fashion and gossip, circulation had risen over 300%. Irene was proud of the work she had poured into her creation, and she enjoyed writing her Lady Truelove column where she answered letters from readers posing questions about personal problems. It wasn’t a career Irene had planned, but family circumstances had dictated it, and now, she loved it.
When Henry discovers that his mother has followed Lady Truelove’s advice and is about to embark on a scandalous elopement with a lowly Italian painter, he knows he must stop it before their family is disgraced. Lady Truelove’s interference was the catalyst of his family’s possible disgrace so he would go to her to rectify the situation. But Lady Truelove was not what he expected. She was beautiful. A Gibson girl come to life. But she was also a female publisher, a suffragist, and a spinster who gave out careless advice without thinking of the consequences. Henry, always in control, had to take matters into his own hands. He bought the paper from Irene’s father and gave her 2 weeks to talk his mother out of this absurd marriage or he would shut down her paper. Irene was to come and stay at Henry’s estate where she would persuade his mother to forget about her Italian lothario.
Of course, living in the Duke of Torquil’s household not only meant Irene would be near the duchess, she would be near Henry as well. Irene found Henry snobbish and condescending. She even dubbed him Lord Insufferable. Henry was equally irritated with Irene and her lack of respect for society. Heated arguments between the two sparked his ire and curiosity. And, much to Henry’s dismay, they also sparked his libido. Something about Irene spurred him to frank remarks and wanton thoughts. She raised his anger and his desire. When he was around her, his body reacted, and he knew he was headed for dangerous territory. Why was he so irresistibly attracted to impossible women? Henry’s ideas of right and wrong and what was proper baffled Irene. She didn’t like him at all, and yet he made her heart race with excitement. Curse him for being so attractive! At times, Irene caught a glimpse of someone contrary to the usual rigid persona Henry portrayed. At those times, his mask of cold politeness slipped and he became more than an arrogant, attractive man. He became human. “Being with him was hard enough when he was being impossible. When he was being nice, it was devastating.”
And then he kissed her. Henry had never known a woman who could provoke his temper and desire simultaneously. Irene did. He wanted her with a fierceness that left him breathless. Irene was affected by that kiss as well. “She’d thought he was cold, but he was as cold as wildfire.” Apparently passion did not require liking. After several failed attempts at keeping their hands off each other, Henry found himself feeling things he didn’t usually allow himself to feel. Irene was just as vulnerable but she couldn’t let him know. It would be too humiliating to admit how attracted she was to him when she knew all too well of his low opinion of her work and her life. For the first time in his life, Henry experienced self-doubt. Irene had a way of blowing his ideas of proper behavior to bits. If he wasn’t careful, Irene could lead them both down a path he’d walked before. One that could only bring them both misery. A path he’s sworn he’d never walk again.
I’d read and loved Laura Lee Guhrke before so I was especially excited for this new series. What a thrill to get in at the start of what promises to be a phenomenal series! Henry and Irene were so endearing. I loved Irene’s passion for her work. She was fearless and independent, and didn’t give a hoot about social expectations. She made her own choices even if limited by convention. Poor Henry had spent his life trying to be what his father wanted, living his life by rules and codes of conduct. He was obsessed with duty and all things proper. Until he met Irene, he was sure he knew what he thought was right and wrong. He’d never allowed himself to doubt his beliefs before. But even for the most arrogant of men, when it came to falling for Irene, he eventually went all in. When they were together, sparks flew. I adored their banter. They both complimented and challenged the other. When they finally gave into their passion, it turned scandalously steamy. Once you read this book, you’ll never be able to hear the song “Me and Mrs. Jones” without thinking of Henry and Irene. The secondary characters were equally as delightful. Irene and Henry were both fiercely loyal to their families. I’m hoping we’ll see more of them in future books in the series. If you’re looking for a book with delightful characters and a brilliant story line, look no further. You’ll relish every page of this one!
I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Readers Copy of this book.