Wednesday, July 18, 2007
To Marry The Duke – Julianne MacLean
Another book that has been on my TBR pile for quite a while. I heard good things about Julianne MacLean but when I received the books there were others I wanted to read and that’s how they were almost forgotten for a while.
My dear sister Clara,
London society is so much more complicated than I could ever have known! Every night is a different ball or assembly, and a different swirl of glittering jewels and rustling gowns. Though I fear I am making social blunders left and right I am having some measure of success in my (or rather, Mother's) objective. Mother is beside herself with glee at the attentions I have been receiving from a few gentlemen she finds supremely suitable as husband material.
But my dearest sister, it is so hard for me to even look at any gentleman but a certain duke, who, if I may confess, makes my heart beat so that I fear it can be seen across a ballroom. He is James Langdon, the Duke of Wentworth, and though I may sound dramatic, he makes me feel as no man ever has before.
But I must push these feelings away. I sometimes hear whispers about his dark past, and he is quietly called the Dangerous Duke. Oh Clara! I am secretly overjoyed that he may love me, and at the same time terrified of his attentions. I have waited so long for my true love, and now I must resist him to protect my heart.
If only I knew how to proceed…Your devoted sister,
I was really surprised with how much I liked it. It was a simple story about an American heiress come to London to find a husband and the Duke that she ends up marrying. Sophia is a sensible and level headed young woman that despite her fortune still expects to marry for love. James is seldom seen in society and doesn’t plan to marry to escape the tragic destiny of his father and grandfather whose violent tempers made their families miserable. He does however change his mind when after being introduced to Sophia at a ball he finds himself attracted to her and discovers how much she is worth.
Sophia doesn’t realize that love is not what is making him chase her but the fact that he believes she will make a good duchess and her dowry will help him with the much needed repairs in his estate. At least that’s what he tells himself.
So these 2 people end up marrying with very different expectations of what their marriage is going to be. After the honeymoon James decides to stay away from Sophia to make sure he is not being controlled by his passions but instead that he controls them. Sophia is also dealing with her very difficult mother-in-law who challenges every decision she makes and does not understand James’s change towards her. When she confronts him she realizes that her marriage is not exactly what she was believing it to be. I did like how MacLean pictured that scene without unnecessary drama or excessive coldness.
Although with her illusions shattered Sophia decides to make the best of her situation and behave like the duchess everyone expects her to be. As she shows a more contained and formal behaviour James starts coming around and showing a warmer side of his character. I thought it was perfectly believable how he felt scared of his own feelings after a blissful honeymoon and how when the pressure lightened up he felt like he could trust Sophia and actually love her without being in danger of being like his father.
The story also includes old family secrets and blackmail which Sophia and James will have to face together and solve before they are allowed to live happily ever after.
I really enjoyed MacLean’s writing style and how nicely she wrote this story. I find I also really enjoyed this period when American heiresses arrived in London to obtain titles and in exchange replenish the British nobility’s empty coffers so it’s a good thing that this is the first book of the American Heiresses trilogy.