Beverly Diehl's Reviews > The Duke and His Duchess

The Duke and His Duchess by Grace Burrowes
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really liked it
bookshelves: short-story-novella, romance, historical-fiction

4.5 stars. This is a couple that we seen in the full-length novels, as a long married pair. Although I believe this works as a standalone, even if you haven’t read any of the novels, because I have previously read many of the novels, I can’t say that for sure.

One problem right off the top, is the cover; The Courtship has the same problem. It’s hot, but as I recall from high school biology, blond hair is a recessive trait. There is no way that two blonds can produce a family that is not also all blond, and several Windham offspring have dark or auburn hair, as I recollect, not just the bastard branch. This is a minor point, and not one the author has any say over; still, it distracted me.

One of the things that makes this great is that this is a couple already in love, already with children, going through a rough patch. Why this period in coupledom is considered any less worthy of coverage in the romance genre, I don’t know, but it’s not traditional romance novel or novella material. It’s certainly a time for any married couple that is filled with drama, and a happy ending is not guaranteed.

Things I really liked about this novella:
1) They’re relatively poor. Percival is still second in line to the Dukedom as this opens. The Duke his father is widowed and in poor health; his older brother is also in very poor health, but what this means is though Percival will almost certainly inherit, eventually, at this time he gets all the burden, but not all the power or the money. He's just ASSUMED to have bundles of money.

2) Esther is suffering from postpartum depression, after bearing four sons in less than five years. She loves her sons, her babies, but she’s exhausted, and probably anemic. This is not the best time for her husband to bring complications into their marriage.

3) The children are wonderfully drawn, each with their personalities. One of the things that bugs me about the romance genre, is often the stories end with an engagement or marriage. In real life, couples do continue to have a romantic life, even if they are parents of children.

What I didn’t like so much about this novella:
1) I thought the idea of Percival consulting an ex-mistress regarding possible herbal remedies for his ailing wife seemed lame.

2) In previous novels, it’s mentioned that the oldest brother, Peter, theoretical heir to the Dukedom, has two daughters. They become invisible here. Because this novella is so very centered around family, I wanted them mentioned at least in passing. They’re away at school, they’re married, they’re dead, something.

3) Cecily, former mistress of Percival, is a bit too evil and two-dimensional. I would’ve liked to have seen her drawn a little more fully, to show one or two good qualities.

All in all, though, I really love this novella; it’s steamy and interesting. Even knowing from the novels that yes, they find a way to work things out, I was kept wondering, but how?
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
March 1, 2013 – Finished Reading
March 13, 2013 – Shelved

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