Never Doubt a Duke
by Regina Scott
Series: Fortune's Brides #1
Publication Date May 18, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: England Regency Era – UK – 1795 – 1837
Main Character Ages: 25-34
Written for: Adults
After spending the last ten years following her late husband on campaign, the irrepressible Jane Kimball finds herself badly in need of a position to support herself. Marriage holds no appeal; she’s not likely to find a husband like her Jimmy again. But when Miss Thorn of the Fortune Employment Agency offers her a post with the Duke of Wey, Jane feels drawn to help the lonely widower with his three daughters. He may seem a bit aloof, but Miss Thorn’s cat Fortune approved of him. Why should Jane doubt a duke?
Alaric, Duke of Wey, commands his staff, his tenants, and the halls of Parliament, managing vast holdings in England and across the seas. Why is it he cannot manage his own daughters? As an old danger rears its head, he comes to rely on Jane’s practical nature, her outspoken ways to navigate the waters of fatherhood. And when necessity dictates he take a wife, thoughts turn to an unlikely governess who might make the perfect bride.
This sweet, clean Regency romance is the first in the Fortune’s Brides series.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
Also in this series: Never Borrow a Baronet, Never Envy an Earl, Never Vie for a Viscount, Never Kneel to a Knight , Never Marry a Marquess
Never Doubt a Duke is a great start to a new series! I love the concept of Miss Thorn’s cat having a sense about people, and author Regina Scott did a great job in creating the “character” of Fortune (or more formally, Miss Fortune), the cat who resembles one of the neighborhood cats who visits me every day.
The character of Alaric is so commendable. I can’t think of the last Duke in a story who displayed such a strong sense of responsibility to his title, his people, and his land. I loved that he had such compassion and interest in caring for those in his care. The fact that he had neglected his daughters wasn’t exactly his fault, and he was so wonderful in acknowledging that he had been wrong to do this and to mend his ways.
And then there is Jane. Plucky and outspoken, prone to love with all her heart, she is a gem. But she is far from perfect, which Alaric’s older daughter will be quick to corroborate. I loved the recital when the Duke’s daughters sang for him and his mother. Having been taught by their slightly (or more than slightly) tone-deaf governess with no musical accompaniment, the versions of the songs they learned were less than perfect.
The book is charming and delightful and the characters are full of life. I can highly recommend this book. I am glad that this will be a series. There is a hint of what is to come in the following books and I am looking forward to seeing how things will turn out.
The duke’s smile was wry. “You have no need to apologize, Mrs. Kimball. We disturbed your well-earned rest, invaded your privacy, and called you names. You’d have every right to tender your resignation.”
Jane returned his smile. “Oh, I don’t give up so easily. Besides, where else would I have the opportunity to see a unicorn?”
“There is that.” His smile faded. “I’ll speak to my daughters in the morning. I begin to see why the other governesses left.”
“Cowards,” Jane told him. “I’ve seen too much to be frightened of a voice in the wardrobe.”
“I’m glad, Mrs. Kimball.” Suddenly he made a face, making him much more human. “I wonder, would you mind if I used your first name?”
That fluttering feeling was building again. She ought to refuse, keep her distance. Her mouth opened before she could stop it. “Not at all, Your Grace.”
“Thank you, Jane.”
Why was it she felt as if he’d caressed her cheek? Her first name was only one syllable while her last name was two. He was probably just being efficient.
“And on behalf of my entire family, I apologize.” He swept her a bow as if to prove it. “You have been like a summer breeze through this place, clearing out the cobwebs and chasing away the dark.”
How beautiful. Once again, she clamped her mouth shut against the words building behind it.
“And perhaps we can dispense with the ‘Your Grace’ business,” he suggested.
Jane fidgeted. This was dangerous ground. The maids and footman were just down the corridor. Mr. Parsons the butler had to be waiting. But still she felt as if the world had come down to the duke and her.
“I don’t know your first name,” she pointed out. “And I imagine Mr. Parsons would have apoplexy if I used it. Perhaps Wey? And only in private.”
“I will settle for Wey. I’ll leave you to enjoy the rest of your evening. Thank you, Jane, for not giving up on us.”
She saw him to the door, closed it behind him, and leaned her back against it.