cover image The Lady Is Daring: The Duke’s Daughters, Book 3

The Lady Is Daring: The Duke’s Daughters, Book 3

Megan Frampton. Avon, $7.99 mass market (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-266667-3

Amiable leads and clever dialogue mitigate the predictable plot of Frampton’s third Duke’s Daughters Victorian romance (after Lady Be Reckless). Both Bennett, Lord Carson, and Lady Ida Howlett chafe against their prescribed 19th-century roles and the sudden pressure to find suitably advantageous spouses. Bennett, a beleaguered steward of his family’s finances, wishes for more carefree times. Ida, longing for adventure, impulsively steals a carriage to visit her disgraced sister. She discovers Bennett napping in the carriage, and his unyielding sense of honor compels him to accompany her. Together they navigate dubious lodging, financial pressures, lack of supplies, and their growing attraction to each other. The presumption of mutual lack of interest clashes with rapidly escalating physicality, creating awkward conversations. Ida’s fierce intelligence sometimes feels at odds with her naïveté but provides a reason (beyond the steamy sex) for Bennett’s attentions. The pair’s return to London sets the stage for a final showdown against societal disapproval. Frampton does not break any molds here, and her critiques of Victorian convention feel somewhat worn, but this is a serviceable romance with decent repartee. Agent: Louise Fury, Bent Agency. (Sept.)