cover image A Duchess by Midnight

A Duchess by Midnight

Charis Michaels. Avon, $8.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-298499-9

An aspiring finishing school instructor must practice what she preaches in Michaels’s appealing third Awakened by a Kiss Regency romance (after When You Wish upon a Duke). Enterprising Drewsmina “Drew” Trelayne sets out to make a living “coaching young debutantes through their coming-out Season,” hoping one day to start her own finishing school, and, more importantly, move out of her sister’s home. Despite Drew’s awkward first meeting with the Duke of Lachlan—during which she inadvertently insults him—Drew is eager to take on his twin nieces as her first clients. But when timid Ivy and the wild child Imogene catch Drew in a compromising position with their uncle, Drew’s own rules about being discovered alone with a man—which she has drilled into her charges’ heads—mean that she and the duke must marry. While Lachlan is secretly pleased about his duchess-to-be, he’s preoccupied with clandestine business dealings, and Drew tries to protect her own heart by not allowing herself to get too invested. Michaels’s female characters are delightfully complex, and the strange behavior of Ivy, Imogene, and their mother adds intrigue as Michaels slowly peals back their traumatic history. This delivers all the elements Regency fans long for. Agent: Patricia Nelson, Marsal Lyon Literary. (July)