cover image A Duke at the Door

A Duke at the Door

Susanna Allen. Sourcebooks Casablanca, $8.99 mass market (408p) ISBN 978-1-72823-079-5

Allen’s delightful third Shapeshifters of the Beau Monde paranormal Regency romance (after A Most Unusual Duke) delivers all the distinctive, well-rounded characters that readers expect while expanding the warmhearted, inclusive world of the series. Tabitha Barrington, 35, spent her marriageable years traveling the world with her scholarly brother, Timothy. Now the pair have landed in England, where they find employment with the Duke of Lowell’s family, Timothy as a tutor and Tabitha as the resident apothecary. Alwyn ap Lewin, Duke of Llewellyn, is a lion shape-shifter who spent years trapped in his animal form as part of a travelling circus. When Prince George consigns the newly human Alwyn to the Lowell estate to recover both his humanity and control over his lion form, Alwyn proves the one patient who challenges Tabitha’s skills. As the pair begin a delicate dance toward love and healing, they run up against several obstacles, among them Tabitha’s non-shifter status and cautious nature: “Her bones were knit together with prudence, their marrow a sober core, her every thought and deed logical and judicious.” The diversity of the cast and casual acceptance of queerness at Lowell Hall are as refreshing as the constant subversion of historical romance tropes. This is Allen’s best yet. Agent: Julie Gwinn, Seymour Agency. (Aug.)