Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Duke Most Wanted by Celeste Bradley

Duke Most Wanted by Celeste Bradley is the third installment in the Heiress Bride trilogy. I like trilogies. They're just long enough to get me attached to the characters and want to see a bit more of them, but they don't drag on forever and ruin those characters. 

The premise behind the series is that Hamish Pickering left his 15,000 pound inheritance to the first female in the three generations following him to marry a duke. Not just a title, but a duke. That was the only one good enough for the female descendent of a grasping Cit. 

The opportunities were left to his three great-granddaughters, Phoebe, Deirdre, and Sophie. Phoebe gave up her chance at the fortune for true love, and Deirdre's husband was heir to a duke.  Sophie was the quiet, bookish one whose eyes were set on only one man: Graham Cavendish. Through a rather bizarre set of circumstances, within short order he become the Duke of Edencourt. 

What follows is the journey that Graham and Sophie take on their courtship. There are some stumbling blocks on the way: he has to battle some of her more ardent suitors, she's keeping secrets, and he has tenants to feed. He must marry money in order to bring his estate back to order, and Sophie could quite possibly be that person. 

There were a few periods in the book where I could not suspend my disbelief. At one point in the narration Bradley makes mention of "The Wicked Witch of the West Wing." That was out of place due to the fact that Baum and The Wizard of Oz were written well after the setting of this book. But a minor quibble. 

Bradley also attempted to inject a bit of satire in her book as well. Graham is at a ball where he refers to the debs he needs to court as Miss Millionpound, Miss Richpapa, and Miss Shippinggold. This was heavy-handed and unnecessary, as we know that he needs to court moneyed women.  Again, a minor quibble, but it stood out and irritated me. 

Lastly, another small quibble in names was that his valet, Peabody, had the same name as the hostess of a musicale, Lady Peabody. It did serve to confuse the reader, as I thought perhaps there may be a weird relationship there. That would have been an easy mistake to fix in an edit. 

My grade for this book is a B+, oh so close to an A! 

No comments: