Monday, November 30, 2020

BOOK REVIEW: The Duke Meets His Match by Karen Tuft

 I received this book for free from Netgalley. That did not influence this review.

The Duke Meets His Match by Karen Tuft is a clean Regency Romance with intelligent, interesting protagonists who navigate the path from mutual aversion to betrothal of convenience to love with admirable maturity and common sense.

George Kendall, Duke of Aylesham, is a prickly man whose work for the Crown, something to do with intelligence gathering during the fight against Napoleon, has kept him very busy. He knows he has to marry because he is the last of the ducal line. (Careful exploration by his secretary has located the next in line: a criminal who was transported to Australia). He has had two previous courtships, one that ended disastrously and one that never really got off the ground. However, when the prince (Prinny) summons him to announce he is being awarded the gift of a German heiress to wed, George is horrified. He has no interest in being manipulated by the prince and is under no illusions that the German princess will be any sort of prize. So he tells the prince that he is already betrothed and about to be wed. When the prince asks for the name of his intended, the first name he thinks of pops out of his mouth.

Miss Susan Jennings, daughter of a viscount, is a blue-stocking on her way to spinsterhood. She had one failed near-betrothal when she first came out, but that was many years ago. A studious young woman whose biggest dread is marrying an intellectual inferior, Susan is quite content to be a doting aunt and unmarried daughter. One year earlier, she had an unpleasant encounter with the haughty Duke of Aylesham, and she recently made his acquaintance again, equally unpleasantly, at a London party she attended reluctantly. However, they made impressions on one another, evidenced by the fact that it was her name that popped from his mouth.

George sees no option but to propose to Susan. Naturally, she rejects him out of hand. But when he explains the situation, she reconsiders. 

The novel follows the course of their uneasy courtship. Susan has ample opportunity to show what strong stuff she is made of. George comes to admire her. George has opportunity to show what a reasonable and thoughtful man he can be. Susan comes to understand him better. They fall in love.

The plot is a little strained, but the hero and heroine are sympathetic and make a convincing pair. Recommended for those who like intelligent protagonists and less steamy, more romantic Romance.

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