Once A Duchess – Elizabeth Boyce

Well, this is as close to a “real” book as I get, but I have to admit…I LIKED it!  Now don’t go getting your panties in a bunch about me referring to romance novels as a “less than” entity in the world of literature.  This was a well deserved jab at my husband, who constantly lectures me about reading “real” novels…blah, blah, blah.  On the contrary and in my world, ladies…a REAL book includes a real hero and I don’t mind at all if he’s wearing a kilt, his shirtless chest muscles are rippling, and he’s bent on seduction.  Well, I can tell you that there were no sword toting super humans in this book – regardless, this was a fabulous book by a “new to me” author with a very interesting storyline and a rich plot.

Marshall Lockwood, a titled botanist, shocks the haute ton when he marries a commoner.  He shocks them even further when he divorces her for (wait for it)…infidelity!  So the down on her luck former Duchess, Isabelle Fairfax, is left helplessly floundering in a society who never accepted her and now ruthlessly brand her an adulteress.  She can’t even look to family for sympathy – her own brother cuts off her pitiful allowance!  (It’s certainly not your run of the mill romance plot, my lusty brethren). To her great shame, Isabelle meets up with her ex husband years later, while (gasp) working as a common cook at the local inn.  Boy…are these regency era gals spoiled, or what?  Who would dare seek gainful employment and perform a duty as lowly as making dinner?  Worst of all is her realization that she still loves the very man who accused her of an affair, stripped her of her title, and robbed her of her very way of life!

Marshall, unaware that she even enjoyed cooking, let alone is good at it, realizes he never really knew his ex Duchess.  If he didn’t know about this important past time, is it possible (in his immaturity and jealous anger) that he misjudged her in her alleged affair his mother supposedly witnessed, as well?  Let’s face it, the old Dowager is no saint and she would stop at nothing to get a “common” woman out of her family.  Marshall starts to wonder if his mother may have ultimately manipulated him…and at what cost?  Are his feelings, which grow deeper the more he is around his former wife, strong enough for this couple to give their love another chance?  Would they even dare?!  Darker powers are at play, however.  When a long hidden part of his past comes back to haunt him, it could quite literally rob him of everything he holds near and dear!

I’m on the edge of my seat to read about  the romance of Isabelle’s faithful friend, Lily Bachman.  Stay tuned!

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