Tuesday, March 8, 2022

BOOK REVIEW: Unmasking the Duke by Mary Lancaster

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

Unmasking the Duke by Mary Lancaster (Book Four in the Pleasure Garden series) is another delightful, temporary escape from the real world.

Kitty Renwick is the adopted niece of Bill Renwick, one-time criminal ringleader now on his way to building a legitimate commercial enterprise, having begun with the creation of The Maida Gardens. (This is a pleasure park for rich and poor, titled and common, with family-oriented entertainments during the day and masked balls at night, where anonymity allows indiscretion.) Kitty has been raised as a part of Renwick’s family, and believes she is his blood relation, but in truth, no one knows who her real parents were. 

Johnny Winters, the duke of Dearham, is a reforming rake. After the death of his father, Johnny has tried to behave more respectably, even taking upon himself the task of tracking down the daughter of a long-lost cousin who was disowned for marrying against his great-grandmother’s wishes. (She was the duchess at the time and has long since died.) He has enlisted the help of Ludovic Dunne, his solicitor who is also a respected sleuth. It appears that Kitty may be the missing girl.

The mystery unfolds amidst dangerous plots against Bill Renwick, Kitty, and a sideplot involving a mysterious princess/spy, who had once been Johnny’s lover. 

Kitty and Johnny fall for one another, but the deck is obviously stacked heavily against them. Thankfully, since this is Romance, obstacles are there to be overcome.

This is an enjoyable series, light on steam and heavier on character development. The plot is improbable but who cares? There is at least one more book in the series, and I’m looking forward to it!

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