Saturday, June 14, 2008

Desperately Seeking a Duke by Celeste Bradley

Book Description:
The first novel in a brand-new series about three young women looking for love--and upward mobility--from USA Today bestselling author Celeste Bradley.

The only way for vicar's daughter Phoebe Millbury to inherit a family fortune is to find herself a duke--just as her late grandfather demanded in his will. But Phoebe, who's still trying to make good after a romantic scandal, also has her two cousins to contend with. They're all competing for the same money, maybe even the same men --until Phoebe meets her match in the terribly handsome and charming Rafe Marbrook.

When she receives a marriage proposal from the Marquis of Brookhaven, Phoebe is thrilled to learn that Rafe is headed for dukedom - and accepts his offer. There's only one problem: It's from Rafe's older, less captivating brother, Calder. Now Phoebe finds herself on the verge of yet another scandal as she faces a desperate choice: Marry Calder for his money--or follow her own heart? Each way can only lead to trouble...

This was a delightful frothy romance set during Regency times in London. It's been a long time since I've read a Regency romance, not since high school and the million Georgette Heyer's I had read while babysitting at night. This is no Georgette Heyer regency romance - it's a hell of a lot spicier and probably not as well written, but it was still alot of fun to read. This is the first of a trilogy about all three cousins, can't wait to read the rest, this was my first book by this author, and she did a great job with it!

Right from the get go, it's off to a great start when our heroine, Phoebe (hate the name, but she was a sweet girl, who I kept imagining looked like the actress that played Catherine Morland in the recent ITV adaptation of Northanger Abbey on TV) notices Rafe and his perfect derriere at a ball. It's lust love at first sight pretty much. They kiss and drink champagne that evening, and just before Rafe is about to propose to her himself the next morning, his brother beats him to it! Poor Rafe, the bastard son and half brother who will inherit nothing. Still, he's divinely handsome and sexy and has a reputation for being a rake - but he's changed for the better after meeting Phoebe. Implausible, but it makes for a good story.

Poor Phoebe accepts the offer of marriage, supposing it has come from Rafe and not his brother, who she hasn't even met. Since the brother, Calder, is going to become a Duke, this means she'll come into this great inheritence left by her Scottish grandfather (his will is pretty amusing.)

As so is the angst in the plot that leads us on a journey of much sexual tension and near scandalous predicaments, culminating in one blissful night together and then two weeks of miscommunication and more angst which all leads up to a great ending with our hero coming to the rescue on his white charger - all very cleverly and humorously done - I loved it!

I hope we see more the of the amusing dressmaker in the rest of the books!


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