Desperately Seeking a Duchess
Author: Christi Caldwell
What I’m Talking About:
Courtland Balfour is the seventh Duke of St. James. He is a notorious rogue with a reputation to charm any woman. His late father left the dukedom in severe debt, and Courtland is trying to fix the situation while keeping his siblings, including his twin Keir, in the dark. While pretending to be Keir, Courtland kisses Cailin, Duke Bentley’s daughter, which eventually causes Keir to lose his job.
Cailin is happy living with her brothers in their mining village, but when her father’s men come to bring his “long lost children” to London, Cailin gives in to the temptation of the big city. However, now that she’s in London, she realizes she does not enjoy the rules of Polite Society. Only her budding friendship with Courtland gives her any joy, and even that is not allowed.
I picked up Desperately Seeking a Duchess because 1) I love historcials involving dukes and 2) it fits the 2022 Romance Reading Challenge (Yellow dress on the cover). The book is the second story in the All the Duke’s Sins series, and although it is a standalone romance, I was a bit lost at the beginning of the book. I ended up going to the internet to find out what happened in the first book, and then things fell into place. I recommend reading Along Came a Lady first.
Cailin is an independent women who does not fit into Polite Society and is shunned by the ton because she is a bastard child of Duke Bentley. She goes after what she wants, and in this case, it’s Courtland. While Courtland tries to behave, he’s too enchanted with Caitlin to keep his hands off her. I adored the couple. I love how they become friends, despite Polite Society. The pair are well-matched and find a lot of common ground. There are some secrets that cause a few problems, but because the pair communicates and listens to one another, they make it despite the issues.
While I enjoyed their romance, I did have a couple small issues with the story. First, Courtland’s youngest sister, Ellie, is too wise for her age (14). I suppose it’s to be her quirky personality thing, but it felt forced and unrealistic. She’s hiding behind curtains and playing with toy guns, yet she is wise about love and relationships? No. Additionally, I didn’t buy the way her father and brothers did an about-face about putting her into Polite Society towards the end of the book (and after something huge happens). It just rang false to me.
In the end, I enjoyed most of Desperately Seeking a Duchess. I liked the couple; I loved watching them become friends. I loved his recognition of her point of view and how she frees him from his perceived ducal life.
My Rating: B- Liked It — But I had a few small issues
About the Book:
What happens when an impoverished duke with a reputation for being a rogue collides with a strong-willed heiress who wants to explore the world? An unlikely friendship…and unexpected passion.
Cailin Audley doesn’t fit in with Polite Society. A life spent among the working class taught her to value her independence in a way no newfound fortune or glittering ballroom could ever erase. When a major misstep sees the new heiress whisked away to the English countryside, Cailin soon realizes the vexing lengths her family will go to see her settled. But having risked her heart once before, Cailin has no interest in the men of the ton–especially not the frustratingly charming Duke of St. James.
Courtland Balfour, the Duke of St. James, devoted brother and notorious rogue, despises what he must become–a fortune hunter. But with the ducal coffers drained by his late, spendthrift of a father, Courtland knows his duty lies at the altar and he will do anything to ensure a future for his siblings. Just his luck that the one lady who could make this new fate bearable, who enflames him like no other, is the one woman who wants nothing to do with him or his title.
But when an act of desperation inadvertently lands he and Cailin at the heart of another scandal, Courtland knows better than to waste his chance. Surely he can convince Cailin to love him?
Release Date: May 24, 2022
Series: All the Duke’s Sins #2
Genre: Historical Romance
Format(s): paperback (336 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Publisher / NetGalley
Amazon (affiliate link)