Every eligible maiden in the entire shire declared that it was like something out of a fairy tale. The Duke of Raeburn – whose formidable scowl was as legendary as his fortune – was hosting a ball to choose a duchess.
But never was there a woman less suited to play the role of Cinderella than Miss Audra Leigh Masters. Financially independent, Audra was content with her books, her dogs and her horses. She had no interest in acquiring a husband, especially not a man as arrogant as the Scowling Duke.
But from their first tempestuous encounter, the Duke is intrigued by Audra and determines he will have no other for his bride. But how does a man go about wooing such a stubborn woman and convince her that theirs is a match destined to be happy ever after?
Written by Susan Carroll
Published in 1991
Hmm where to start? Well I guess there’s the fact that the book’s first chapter is written from two male points of view – only one of whom is the hero – which is slightly unusual. Then there’s the older heroine (yay!) who has found it possible to “read and appear the perfect hostess at the same time.” As a bookworm myself, that really appeals to me!
The story itself is a reflection of both Cinderella (a ball is held for the hero to find his bride and slippers definitely play a part) and Pride and Prejudice themes, though the heroine isn’t a poor, downtrodden servant girl (she has $10,000 pounds thank you very much!).
I should mention that this isn’t technically a Regency romance as it is set after the death of King George III (making it some time after 1820) rather than during the actual Regency period but that certainly doesn’t detract from the book at all.
The story takes place in the country so no London Season shenanigans here, apart from the ball. There’s some interesting insight into hunting, particularly the physical harm it does to participants as well as the cruelty to animals.
The banter between the two main characters was lovely and the way both came to the realisation of their love was also very well done. Oh and there’s a strong relationship between the sisters which is so unusual for Regency romances! So much to love here.
In the end…
Ultimately though I guess you want to know – did I feel the HEA was right? Was I left with a warm and fuzzy feeling or wishing I could get my money back?
Yes, I did feel the HEA was right. Like the start of the book it is a different way of ending a Regency romance book and although I’m not a fan of epilogues I’d love to have seen one here. I was definitely left with a warm and fuzzy feeling and am looking forward to reading more by Ms Carroll.
Overall this is Highly Recommended by me.