This engaging historical romance continues the saga of a group of unconventional women who are friends and the men who are important to them. The misconceptions perpetrated by secrecy and attempts at discretion compound the estrangement that develops when limited information is available to various individuals and this is complicated even further by Lydia’s actions. This story highlights the way secrets have a way of expanding and causing hurt feelings even as it points out the difficulties women of the time had with the role they were often forced into. It is heartwarming to witness the loyalty displayed by members of both genders even as one cringes at the lengths that Lydia goes to and the results of her actions. I wasn’t completely satisfied by the resolution of the difficulties even though I am aware of the strictures placed by society but it was entertaining to get glimpses of the couples who were featured in other books in this series. I always enjoy the way this author creates entertaining heroines and look forward to more of her stories which give a glimpse of a society that is contradictory and oppressive yet fascinating, even as I breathe a sigh of relief at the progress that has been made since that period!
“The Accidental Duchess” by Madeline Hunter is part of the ‘Fairbourne Quartet’ series and centers around the very determined Lydia Alfreton who has become unwillingly embroiled in a blackmail scheme due to her misguided attempt to write a novel. Clayton Galbraith, Duke of Penthurst, has been somewhat estranged from his normal circle of friends ever since the duel that proved fatal to one of their number. His repudiation of the arranged marriage between Lydia and himself years ago does not keep him from trying to keep her from harm’s way, especially when he feels her penchant for gambling will prove detrimental to her reputation. Unfortunately, he hasn’t accounted for Lydia’s antipathy toward him and her determination to go her own way...which may mean things will not end well for either of them.
From New York Times bestselling author Madeline Hunter comes this seductive tale of a headstrong young lady, a scandalous manuscript, and the iron-willed duke determined to save her from her ruin. For fans of Mary Balogh, Eloisa James, and Julia Quinn.
When Lady Lydia Alfreton is blackmailed over the shocking contents of a manuscript she once wrote, she must go to the most desperate of measures to raise the money to buy back the ill-considered prose: agreeing to an old wager posed by the arrogant, dangerous Duke of Penthurst. At least Penthurst is a man she wouldn’t mind fleecing?and she’s confident she’ll win.
Penthurst long ago concluded Lydia was a woman in search of ruinous adventure, but even he is surprised when she arrives at his house ready to bet her innocence against his ten thousand pounds?a wager he only proposed to warn her off gambling.
When she loses to a simple draw of the cards, Lydia is shocked. Now, her problems are twofold: a blackmailer determined to see her pay and a duke determined to tame her rebellious ways. One misstep and Lydia could find herself ruined?or bound to the seductive man who would make her his duchess.