cover image The Runaway Duchess

The Runaway Duchess

Joanna Lowell. Berkley, $16.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-19830-8

Lowell delivers the goods in her deliciously complex Victorian-era sequel to The Duke Undone. Lavinia Yardley has little choice but to marry the much older Duke of Cranbrook, despite thinking of him as a “nasty old goat,” to salvage her family’s depleted coffers and loss of status following her broken first engagement and her father’s imprisonment for theft. Traveling by train to the duke’s estate and her new home in Cornwall, she meets Neal Traymayne, head of Varnham Nurseries, who mistakes her for Muriel Pendrake, a worldly and widowed botanist he was meant to escort from the station. Desperate to escape her new husband, Lavinia goes along with his mistake, embracing the beauty of Cornwall and the companionship of Neal’s family as she starts to fall for Neal. But can their budding romance survive when Neal learns the truth of her identity? Lowell’s finely wrought characters don’t have it easy when it comes to navigating restrictive Victorian society, but even their most outrageous actions ring true. Readers will be swept away by this entrancing, intelligent romance. Agent: Tara Gelsomino; One Track Literary. (Jan.)