Tuesday, February 20, 2024

BOOK REVIEW: The Diamond and the Duke by Christi Caldwell

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

The Diamond and the Duke by Christi Caldwell is the third book in her Regency Romance series, All the Duke’s Sins.

Lady Ellie Balfour is the youngest daughter of the cruel Duke of St. James, now thankfully the late duke. She bears the scars of his rages and also the misguided guilt of believing she deserved them because she was a willful child. She was always scheming. When one of her schemes goes awry—or maybe not—leading to the forced marriage of her brother (the new duke) to Cailin (illegitimate daughter of the kindly Duke of Bentley- see book two: Desperately Seeking a Duchess), Ellie isolates herself from her family. Her solitude is broken by the arrival of Cailin’s brother Wesley, a soldier in Wellington’s army.

His kindness to her during those difficult weeks after the wedding is something she will never forget. She falls half in love with him then, but he must return to the war. And when she learns that he is heartbroken because the woman he loves has ceased writing to him, Ellie takes up her own pen and writes, pretending to be that woman. This goes on for more than a year. And then, Wesley is terribly injured on the battlefield.

He returns home a broken man. A scarred, pain-wracked veteran with PTSD. His family, who all love him dearly, are barely able to look him in the eye. Their pity is devastating. He wants nothing more than to be left alone. But there is one person who continually imposes her company upon him, refusing to treat him with pity or disdain: Lady Ellie Balfour.

Ellie helps him through his darkest hours, asking nothing in return. He doesn’t know the guilt she is carrying for deceiving him, the love she bears him, or that fact that she, too, is scarred by violence. Her sunny disposition, wit, and matter-of-fact pronouncements have him (and everyone else) fooled.

Wesley has to find his way back to the world of the living. Ellie has to break out of her own prison of silence and shame. And the only way to do that is with each other.

A poignant, moving love story. There are more siblings in these families. Who will be next?

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