on April 17th 2018
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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.
The Perfect Duchess is the second book in the Macalisters series by Erica Taylor. It can easily be read as a standalone story.
Lady Clara Masson hasn’t had an easy time of it for the last 5 years since her twin sister jilted a Duke at the altar to run off with a footman. Thanks to that scandal and the lies spread about her by her brother Jonathon, aided by the fact she stayed in the country so long, Clara is looked down upon by society. Being a Lady she is still entitled to attend social functions even though a lot of people shun her there. Despite that, she is determined to try her best and sneaks out of her brother’s house to attend the annual Macalister birthday ball.
Andrew Macalister is the Duke that Clara’s sister jilted. He and his brothers all celebrate their birthdays in May, hence the birthday ball. Clara has been in love with Andrew since she was a young girl who used to chase around after him and her brother who used to be firm friends. Andrew became the Duke after losing both his father and eldest brother. He rebelled at the responsibilities at first but when it became apparent that his family relied on him he changed his ways becoming the very best brother and Duke that he could be. It earned him the name the Stone Duke of Bradstone.
At the ball, Clara is being treated badly by the sniping gossiping women. Andrew comes to her aid, very happy to reconnect with her after her being away for so long. So happy that he throws caution to the window and decides to call on her the next day to ask her to go for a carriage ride with him in the park. A good job too because he turns up in time to find Clara’s brother attacking her! Andrew is the ultimate swoon-worthy hero, he punches Jonathon, swoops Clara up into his arms and takes her home with him.
He decides that the only way to keep Clara safe from her brother and to look after her is to marry her!! She agrees but in the meantime, they both have time to question his offer. She worries that he will resent her, and she doesn’t want to marry unless he loves her. He worries that she will jilt him at the altar just as her sister did. Whether they end up marrying soon takes second place to Clara’s safety. Her brother is trying to have her killed and seems capable of infiltrating all the safeguards put in place to keep her safe from him. Why on Earth does he want her killed, and was he behind her sister running off with the footman? As the story unfolds the book just keeps getting better and better!
As I read an advanced readers’ copy of this book there were a few errors, but I am hoping they will have been caught and edited before the proper release. Forgetting those errors I found the story beautiful and fascinating. There were twists and turns, especially when we find out just what Clara’s brother’s problem was! I loved the slow-burning romance between Clara and Alex and how unrequited love soon blossomed into the real thing. It was so lovely to read how Clara could see him and bring out the real Andrew Macalister rather than his persona of the stone Duke.
I couldn’t read this book quickly enough and am very much looking forward to reading any other books in the series.
I voluntarily reviewed and advanced readers’ copy of this book.