Wednesday, May 25, 2022

BOOK REVIEW: The Runaway Duchess by Joanna Lowell

I was long overdue for another historical romance. Fortunately, I picked up The Runaway Duchess by Joanna Lowell. What a delightful romp! Set in 1883, rather than the Regency Period, there are elements of a slightly more modern society, but women, on the whole, remain hemmed in by convention.

Lavinia Yardley is the unwilling duchess. After having been ruined by the love of her life, she tries to salvage what she can by marrying the Duke of Cranbrook, a textbook disgusting old villain. Before the marriage is consummated, she seizes a chance to run off, at a train station, with a man who mistakes her for someone else.

The man is Neal Traymayne, a botanist, an intrepid collector and categorizer of exotic and local plant-life, and the head of Varnham Nurseries (a very successful commercial endeavor.) Neal has come to the station looking for Mrs. Muriel Pendrake, a fellow botanist with whom he has been corresponding. She’s a widow, and he hopes they will hit it off in person as much as they have in writing. Because he is looking for a wife.

They do hit it off. Or rather, Neal and Lavinia-as-stand-in-for-Muriel hit it off, even though she is not at all what he was expecting and he is not the type of man she ever thought she would look at twice. Unfortunately, Lavinia has to keep pretending to be Muriel Pendrake.

The novel is chockful of clever humor. Some of it goes along with the mistaken-identity situation, but most is the result of witty banter and sly observation of human foibles. The book is steamy, more so than my usual preference, but the emotional relationship is well on its way before they start acting on their mutual desires, so the sex scenes don’t read as gratuitous.

There is really only one way for the HEA to be obtained, so there are no surprises. But it’s such a fun read, with unique plotting along the way, that it’s highly recommended!

1 comment:

  1. I do enjoy a funny historical romance!

    Thanks for sharing this book with the Hist Fic challenge!