The Duke Next Door: C+
Deirdre Cantor & Calder Marbrook, Marquis of Brookhaven (future Duke of Brookmoor) The Heiress Brides 2
Since this was the pick for August from my book club, I jumped right into the story. Apparently the ladies chose the first book of this series, Desperately Seeking a Duke, several months back and enjoyed it so they chose to select this one.
In case you haven’t read the first novel or are new to the series, three young women have an inheritance that they will only receive if they marry a Duke. The first of the three to get hitched was Phoebe in Desperately Seeking a Duke;
She apparently “leaves” Calder at the altar, or rather he gives Phoebe away, to marry his rakeish brother, Rafe.
In seeing the situation, the stunningly beautiful but cold (cold from the first book) Deirdre makes up her mind to marry Calder. She swiftly proposes and he agrees. By the twenty-fifth page, Calder and Deirdre are married in a marriage of convenience.
She is surprised to discover that Calder has a daughter, one whom he ignores and doesn’t even look at because of her resemblance to his first wife, who died while she was running away with her lover. The daughter, Meggie, is introduced as a wretch – a completely spoiled brat (I’da smacked her.) but because of Deirdre’s horrible relationship with her evil stepmother, Tessa, she understands Meg and Meg’s desire to get her father’s attention and love.
They bond in a strange, kind-of unloving way.
Meanwhile, Calder, or the Beast in according to the ton, and Deirdre’s relationship is on the rocks. He demands that she listen to him, that she dress for dinner (like from the movie, Beauty and the Beast – the book is based relatively off that Grimm Fairy Tale), that she would be denied parties and nice clothes should she defy him.
Deirdre, angered, team with Meg to give Calder a taste of his own medicine… and in the process of everything happening, Deirdre and Calder start to fall in love.
However, when Stickley and Wolfe, Deirdre’s family’s solicitors, find that Deirdre is close to being a real duchess and that she will ask for the withdrawal of her inheritance, they start to panic. Apparently, they’ve been entrusted with taking care of the inheritance for so long that they have no other clients and want the retainer from doing business for Deirdre’s family. Wolfe, the more rakeish solicitor, decides to start trouble by creating unpleasant emotions in one of Deirdre’s very-devoted admirers.
The end is chaotic mix of kidnappings, a disguised pygmy, shootings, tough barroom men…and reconciliation.
A nice read… one that didn’t necessarily click with me, for some reason. I am inclined to say that Ms. Bradley’s writing style was choppy…? In showing the progression time, there were a lot of mental stops made in my mind. But most of the other book club ladies enjoyed it, so give it a try.
PS: I'm having a hell of a time trying to organize the format of my posts. Effing blogger!!!