Review of HOW TO MARRY A DUKE by Debbie Raleigh, Sandy Blair, and Regan Allen
Zebra Books, February 2005
When her aunt loses her dowry to a marriage fraud, crusading journalist Shevon Quinn decides to right the wrongs and help her aunt recover the fortune. She signs up for the 'marry a duke' course and follows the instructions. Unfortunately for her plans, though, this particular duke isn't responding to the lessons, he's responding to Shevon. Now how is she supposed to prove that the class is a fraud when she has a duke wrapped around her little finger (and around a lot more, as well)?
Unemployed, ex-governess Rachel O'Leary breaks into an empty London house and supports herself and her Irish family with her baking skills. But when long-travelling Duke Connor Kenroe returns home from Egypt, he figures he can blackmail Rachel into helping with his plans--plans that have nothing to do with her Irish relatives and everything to do with his own goals of rebuilding his ancient ducal estates in Scotland. The pretend engagement would have been bad enough if Rachel didn't find herself responding to the sexy Scot--and wishing she could turn pretend into reality.
Stephen Anthony needs to marry and father children. He's picked a suitable wife and waits only her arrival to propose. But then a beautiful sprite dances into his life--claiming to be Tess, Lady of the Forest, and his fated bride. Stephen is a realistic man, and he doesn't believe in fairies, exactly. Still, the attraction he feels toward the stacked sprite is nothing short of magical. How is he supposed to be happy with a suitable wife when the fates have brought him something so special.
In a trio of historical novellas, authors Debbie Raleigh, Sandy Blair (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of novels by Blair), and Regan Allen tell tales of strong women who drive to their goals--picking up the loves of their lives as they go--and none of the dukes knows what hit them.
I was surprised and pleased to see a hint of social conscience in all three of these stories about marrying the top of the British Aristocracy. Shevon worked as a journalist, reporting on the follies of the rich and trying to help the down-trodden. Rachel breaks with aristocratic tradition and goes into 'trade,' and Tess worries about sheep grazing which destroyed the traditional Scotish clan structure and converted common lands to privately owned enclosures during the 19th century. Mixing glamour with a bit of reality adds some depth to these amusing novellas.
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