Desperately Seeking Duke, Book 2
From the publisher:
The second book in the clever, sexy Desperately Seeking Duke series from USA Today bestselling and RITA award–winning author Caroline Linden.
An Officer and a Scotsman
Captain Andrew St. James always knew he came from a noble family, but his branch grew far from the wealth and status. Nothing shocks him more than learning that he now stands as heir presumptive to his distant cousin the Duke of Carlyle. There is much for Drew to learn and adjust to—but first he goes home to Edinburgh, to tell his mother and three sisters of their startling good fortune.
A Lady and a Temptress
Ilsa Ramsay yearns for some adventure and fun, not another husband. When she discovers the handsome soldier who sweeps her off her feet for a rollicking dance is her friend’s brother, soon to be an English duke, she tells herself he’s not for her, no matter how tempting he is. But one impulsive kiss, then another, and another… says otherwise.
An Irresistible Attraction
Drew means to marry a respectable, dignified Englishwoman—a very proper future duchess. The spirited Ilsa is none of that. Still, when she’s caught in a dangerous scandal, he leaps to her aid without hesitation. And neither family duty nor future obligation can make them ignore what’s in both their hearts.
Oh, Diana Gabaldon, you’ve set the bar too high! My first exposure to Scottish historical romance was the Outlander series, and as it takes years for each book in the series to come out, I’ve found other Scottish historical romances to fill the “droughtlander” (which I believe was first used about the Outlander TV series, but still applies!) I don’t expect these filler books to be comparable, and they are not, but they do fill a void. Especially today, because romance has gone through the #metoo movement as well, so the Scottish heroes may be misogynistic and dominant, but they treat their women well, especially in the bedroom. I can live with that.
I didn’t read the first book in this series (for a change) but I think it stands well on its own. From my research, it appears that this book includes an abbreviated synopsis of the first book, so we learn right away that the Captain is now the heir apparent to an English duchy, necessitating many changes in his life and that of his immediate family as well. In the beginning, he is in England, pretty much studying the role he will be filling with the Duchess and her manager. The Duke, we are told, is unable to procreate and is in failing health. Times being what they are, he could live for months or even years. Meanwhile, the Captain does ask the Duchess to help him find a wife, as the first requirement of being a Duke is ensuring an heir and a spare to avoid the situation they are now in.
After several weeks of Duke training, the Captain returns home to let his family know about their change in fortune. While out celebrating with his best pal, the Captain’s eye catches sight of a woman he describes as mesmerizing, a young widow named Ilsa. She impulsively kisses him, and both are surprised by the heat that little kiss ignites.
Ilsa is best friends with the Captain’s sister, so easy enough to see one another. But eventually a serious problem comes up, and the suspense takes over the second half of the book, moving it from light and frothy to a slightly darker place. I had some issues with this whole plot, it really pushed my boundaries of what I’m willing to believe to keep a story going. I didn’t believe a lot of it so that wasn’t as much fun for me.
All in all, despite my inability to suspend my disbelief, I still enjoyed reading this story, and I was very happy with the ending. Doubtful I’ll go back and read the first book though, and this is a trilogy (of sorts-there are apparently a couple of novellas as well) so I’m not sure I’ll read the next/last book. I have liked other books by this author, but none are at the top of my reading list.
7/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
A SCOT TO THE HEART by Caroline Linden. Avon (June 29, 2021). ISBN: 978-0062913647. 384 pages.
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