Anna Bennett returns with the second novel in her Wayward Wallflowers series, I DARED THE DUKE (St. Martin’s Paperbacks; April 4, 2017)
Rating : 4 out of 5 Stars
The Lacey sisters have lost their parents and found themselves in dire financial circumstances. Even if her sister is married to a wealthy earl, Beth Lacey, the middle sister, needs a job and she has accepted to act as a companion to a dowager duchess. She would be perfectly happy if the duchess’ grandson, Alexander Savage, the Duke of Blackshire, hadn’t decided to get rid of her. Alex is an intriguing hero, deeply scarred physically and emotionally. He is arrogant, ornery and haughty and yet there seems to be much more to him than the player he seems to be. He has found a worthy opponent in Beth, though. She is mouthy, sassy, spirited and doesn’t hold Alex in high esteem. Their verbal sparring was so much fun! Alex is forthright and doesn’t do flattery. But he needs Beth’s help to persuade his grandmother to move to the country.
In exchange for her cooperation, Beth intends to impose her rules and teach him a lesson. These two characters had me laughing, their bickering and battle of wits were irresistible. As it happens, they really enjoy each other’s company. Alex is worried. There were several attempts on his life and it is obvious that someone wants to kill him. The culprit has not been identified yet and he can’t bear the idea that something could happen to Beth because of their relationship. He is protective of her, but seems vulnerable and without actual protection.
There were several interesting plot twists and suspenseful scenes. The mystery part of the story was well written and well-paced, it kept me guessing until the very end. But what really held my attention is the burgeoning relationship between Beth and Alex. They are both endearing characters, who have become prejudiced through some traumatic events they experienced in their life. I loved their interactions, the witty dialogue and their mutual emotional healing.
I enjoyed this charming, lovely and fun historical romance with suspenseful elements. I dared the Duke was my first book by author Anna Bennett. It is the second installment in her Wayward Wallflowers series, but this book can be read as a standalone.
I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley.