cover image When a Duchess Says I Do

When a Duchess Says I Do

Grace Burrowes. Forever, $7.99 mass market (384p) ISBN 978-1-5387-2898-7

An unusual pair of smart and worldly but reticent lovers; a modern sensibility about themes of consent, class, and disability; and a surprising and adventurous plot make Burrowes’s latest Rogues to Riches Regency (after My One and Only Duke) satisfyingly relatable nerdy escapism. Tender ex-cleric Duncan Wentworth would rather keep to his books or travel the Continent than attend to the neglected Berkshire estate that his newly titled cousin Quinn has compelled him to manage. Nevertheless, when underfed fugitive “Miss Maddie” appears in his woods and saves him from poachers, Duncan offers her his hospitality, a job transcribing his travelogues, and his curious attention, despite her reluctance to share anything about herself. Through a mix of trust built over chess games (with many chess metaphors throughout the story) and courtship, and the astute observations of Duncan’s visiting cousin Stephen, the identity of widowed duchess Matilda Wakefield comes to light, as does the dilemma that led her to flee London. By the end, the whole Wentworth clan, embracing Duncan’s new beloved as one of their own, works together to help extricate her from her troubles. Individually and collectively, the Wentworths are fun to watch, and the optimism in Burrowes’s depiction of wealthy people whose humble history yields profound compassion will warm readers’ hearts to the core. (Apr.)