Miss Katherine Ross is a wealthy, eccentric socialite who knows precisely what she wants: No husband. No children. No candlelit tête-à-tête with the insufferably emotionless Duke of Ravenwood. She’s convinced his heart is ice — until she touches that chiseled chest for herself. One lapse in judgment is all it takes to turn both their lives topsy-turvy…
The Duke of Ravenwood isn’t cold and haughty, but a secret romantic who has always dreamt of marrying for love. Instead, he gets Miss Katherine Ross — a headstrong hoyden intent on unraveling his carefully ordered world. He doesn’t know whether to kiss her or throttle her. Can they survive each other’s company long enough to turn a compromise into love?
From the publishers, via Netgalley in exchange for a review.
This is the last of the Dukes Of War series (#Dukesofwar), and I have read and reviewed all the previous books in the series, so it was satisfying to read the last one.
We have met Ravenwood several times before, most recently in The Brigadier’s Runaway Bride, where he was prepared to marry his friend’s heavily pregnant intended, only for Edmund to rudely prove he wasn’t dead by gatecrashing the wedding.
Here, we find more about Ravenwood, and his need to have control in his life (after losing his family whilst still young therefore inheriting before he was really ready), and a belief that he needs to show propriety at all times. Katherine wants to do the right thing for the artists in London, allowing them to get access to likely patrons, who will support and pay for up-and-coming artists to earn enough money to make a living.
During one of Katherine’s events at the museum – where Ravenwood is attending, having been coerced by his sister – the two of them find themselves in an innocent but compromising position, and a wedding is therefore rapidly arranged.
Never having expected to be married, especially into the landed gentry, Kate has no idea how to run a household of the size she’s suddenly in charge of and doesn’t know the seemingly unwritten rules. Thankfully her sister in law comes to the rescue in lending Kate her extensive notes (another indication that Obsessive Compulsive behaviour runs in the family). She also has a fear of childbirth, so whilst she doesn’t have a problem with the act of sex, she doesn’t ever want to be pregnant – which puts her at odds with Ravenwood, who needs and wants an “heir and spare” to continue the line.
Kate also has her aunt who is clearly and rapidly declining into a state of permanent dementia, and whose behaviour is becoming erratic, childish and embarrassing when out in public. It is one of these episodes that helps bring out the denouement at the end of the story.
The main part of the story is therefore about two people who don’t know each other, and certainly don’t love each other, both finding themselves in a situation neither of them wanted and coming to terms with it. Each finds out more about the other as time goes on, including what it truly important, and that the seemingly small actions do in fact have massive importance. In the end, both have grown and the marriage is all the stronger for it.
There’s virtually no reference to the other men from the series, which is different, but it does mean that new readers can come in and not have to worry about who is whom. Part of me does want to go back and read the whole series again to see what I could have missed the first time round (I rarely read a whole series). The main thing stopping me is simply having the time to do so….
About this author
Erica Ridley is a USA Today best-selling author of historical romance novels.
Her latest series, The Dukes of War, features charming peers and dashing war heroes who return from battle only to be thrust into the splendor and madness of Regency England.
When not reading or writing romances, Erica can be found riding camels in Africa, zip-lining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle of Budapest.
A summary of The Dukes Of War series, and the books therein, can be found over at Erica’s site, here