cover image The Duke’s Disaster

The Duke’s Disaster

Grace Burrowes. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99 mass market (416p) ISBN 978-1-4926-0530-0

After several contemporary American romances, Burrowes (What a Lady Needs for Christmas) returns to Regency England for this tender standalone. Noah Winters, Duke of Anselm, has every intention of marrying the lovely Marliss Hallowell, but when he offers, she refuses. Being the pragmatic sort, he promptly proposes to Araminthea Collins, Marliss’s companion. Thea considers turning him down, believing that her tarnished past makes her unsuitable to be a duchess, but she can’t resist the protection of his name, financial security, and a stable home for her younger sister. The wedding night is full of good intentions gone horribly wrong, leaving Thea distressed and Noah feeling betrayed. But even with hurt feelings on both sides, they both try to be civil and salvage their marriage. Noah is a lovable rogue, stealing Thea’s breakfast every morning. Instead of teasing or cajoling Noah into forgiveness, Thea just wants to move forward and be his friend. Every interaction, touch, and look is infused with warmth, sensuality, and humor. This romance has its funny moments and light banter, but the weightier themes of force and trust cast deep shadows. The marvelous protagonists balance out some ham-fisted handling of issues around sexual consent. Agent: Steve Axelrod, Axelrod Literary Agency. (Apr.)