Queue My Review

August 21, 2008

Review: The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn

Filed under: Review — Tags: , , , , — jjmachshev @ 8:00 am
The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn

Goody, goody, goody. Julie Quinn is an author who hooked me from the first book of hers that I read. It was “Minx” and I picked it up at a used bookstore, read it that night, and went back the next day to get the rest of her available books. I should state here that I go to used bookstores to find new authors. Once I do, I spend my hard-earned dollars to pay for their hard work. I figure that’s only fair plus I want their publishers to know which authors to keep! But enough about that. Quinn’s ‘Bridgerton’ series was one I enjoyed, although I did think that some of the books weren’t up to her usual standard. So when I saw “The Lost Duke of Wyndham,” I pretty much (shamelessly) begged Quentin to let me review it. And being a pest paid off! Quinn’s latest is everything I enjoy in a Regency romance.

Grace isn’t a beauty. She’s not ugly, yet she’s not the accepted norm of her day for beauty. She is smart, resourceful, responsible, and unfortunately alone in the world. After her parents’ death, she was rescued from an unsavory relationship with their distant heir by the Duchess of Wyndham. Grace has been the unpleasant Duchess’ companion for the last five years. And while she gives thanks for the roof over her head and food in her mouth, she tries to bury her dreams of love, marriage, and children. Then, late one evening on their way home from an ‘assembly’, their carriage is stopped by highwaymen and everything about Grace’s world changes.

Jack’s a lover, a former soldier, and now a highwayman. An orphan taken in by relatives, he’s charmed his way through life. Then he and his men stop the carriage of the Duchess of Wyndham and his world will never be the same. Apparently his dead father was the oldest living son of the Duchess. This will make Jack the Duke, thrill the Duchess, and unseat and unsettle Thomas, the current Duke. It will also provide Jack with untold wealth and power. On the other hand, this will please the Duchess (she can be quite pompous and nasty) and burden Jack with innumerable duties. But most importantly, according to tradition, it precludes Jack from marrying the woman who is coming to mean everything to him – Grace.

Is this a new plot? No, of course not. What makes this book a must-read is the skillful way Quinn threads both humor and hubris into her characters’ interactions. The arrogant self-entitlement of the peerage is ruthlessly portrayed by the Duchess. It’s such a contrast to Jack’s constant one-liners, double entendres, and quips that several times I burst out laughing (and my husband always gives me ‘that’ look every time) and had to catch my breath before I could continue reading. The foibles and restrictions of the regency era aren’t written, they are instead lived through Quinn’s characters. The growing relationship between Jack and Grace, Thomas’ reactions to being unseated, the Duchess’ continual efforts to direct everyone and everything; these are the meat of the book. Is there sex? Heck yeah. Good stuff too. Julia Quinn can burn your fingers with her sensuous writing. And best of all, there’s a happy ending. It’s not exactly an easy ending for everyone, but it’s definitely happy, for most of the characters anyway.

I must give a big thanks to Quentin for succumbing to my pleading (and don’t think I won’t do it again!) and letting me read “The Lost Duke of Wyndham.” I’m now waiting impatiently for Thomas’ story, “Mr. Cavendish, I Presume” coming in October 2008 (yes Quentin, I’ll be pleading for this one too so you may as well give in now) where we’ll see what happens to a man who appears to have lost everything. If you’re a Julia Quinn fan, you will love this book. If you were a fan, but lost faith after some of her more recent works, I know you’ll be more than satisfied with her return to her usual stellar work. And if you’ve never read one of Quinn’s regencies, then I can’t think of a better one to start with.

Until next time…

 

Julie

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