And I’m back!
It’s been a long semester and a (very) hectic holiday season but I finally have time to seriously binge read and review again 🙂
Today, while swinging on a hammock, I read My Own True Duchess. I thoroughly enjoyed the story even though I tend to shy away from Grace Burrowes’ books—while a fabulous writer, her books have such a serious tone and thus are a lot less “fluffy” than other historical romance novels. Or, at least, I feel that way; I find that I comparatively smile and giggle less. I think it’s because Burrows’ dialogue is packed with pleasantries or lengthy emotional speeches—there is little, if any, humorous flirting.
That said, Burrowes does a great job of building complex characters and believable romances. My Own True Duchess (a title, by the way, that I love) is no exception.
Our hero is Jonathan Tresham, heir to the Duke of Quimbey, who is a bit aloof and definitely somewhat oblivious but possesses an impeccable memory and an ability to immediately recognize patterns. He has made his own fortune through owning the gentlemen’s club “The Coventry.” I really liked Jonathan if only for the reason that he was just such a stand-up guy. Rakes and rouges are fun and all but it was nice to read a book about a hero—especially a hero who owned a gambling club—who hasn’t slept with every woman in London and drowned himself in a tankard of whiskey every night. He loves his job because he is drawn to probabilities and numbers, not because of a love of gambling. Case in point: for most of the book, his ideal night was to sit in his room and stare at ledgers.
Widow Theodosia Haviland was married to a complete scumbag for many years and lives heavily in debt trying to repay her late husbands’ creditors. When Jonathan hires her as a matchmaker she tries her best to find him a suitable wife but falls for him instead.
I just want to say that the blurb for this book was truly awful. The description of Theo as a “widow guarding scandalous secrets” with “an entirely inappropriate attraction to the one man she can never have” was just false. What secrets (she is pretty darn open about her life early on to Jonathan)? And what inappropriate attraction (she deems him suitable for marriage pretty quick? The primary plot of the book actually has to do with Jonathan, who is experiencing problems with his club and finding the culprit behind them.
I liked Theo. As a character, she wasn’t very warm—she had gone through hell and back and you could tell—but her loyalty and strength shone through. She was incredibly mature, a rare trait for a historical romance novel heroine.
In fact, that might be the word I’m looking for: “mature.” This book has two very mature main characters. Their love grows from mutual respect instead of zany instances and outrageous flirtation. Which both makes their relationship seem much more realistic but also much blander. And didn’t put a dumb smile on my face the entire time I read.