Noah Winters, the Duke of Anselm has decided to marry. He is tired of spending his time searching ballrooms and parties for a bride. He courted Marliss Endmon who is now betrothed to another. So, what does our practical hero do? Without missing a beat, he proposes to Lady Thea Collins, Marliss's lady's companion!
"A young lady's companion," he said, withdrawing his hand, "is little more than a finishing governess, Lady Thea. You are in want of a position. I am in want of a duchess, and I am offering you that post."
No eyebrows, no gasp of shock, no reaction at all, as she regarded him out of puzzled green eyes. "You're serious."
To a fault, according to most woman who'd venture an opinion, including Noah's most recent mistress.
"Your papa was an Earl, " he said. "You're comely, quiet, past the vapid stage, and from good breeding stock. You are every bit as much duchess material as that giggling twit you supervise."
I had mixed feelings about Noah at the beginning of the story. His proposal was a business offer, not an offer of marriage. What kind of man was he? Thea's family has financial problems, her younger brother is gambling and drinking away the family fortune. Lady Thea accepts Noah's proposal when he sweetens his offer by saying that Thea's sister Nonie can live with them and he would sponsor her come out. Security is important to Thea. But what about love?
Noah and Thea marry and discover they both have secrets. BIG secrets. Noah is disappointed that Thea kept her secret from him. Thea uncovers several of Noah's secrets while he is away on business. It's how the practical Duke and the kind -hearted Thea deal with the secrets that made me fall in love with this couple and their love story. I loved when Noah would wake Thea up each morning even though he knew she loved to sleep in. He would make her tea and toast, serve her in bed, help himself to her toast and steal her tea as they discussed their plans for the day! Their morning conversations were charming and very funny and allowed the reader to witness a subtle change in their relationship.
Thea's secret haunts her because she doesn't remember all of the the fine details. Grace Burrowes writes this part of the novel very skillfully. Throughout the novel, the author provides subtle clues to the reader how members of the ton viewed and treated companions and governesses. The reader picks up on what polite society viewed as normal or tolerable behavior in that time period. Noah and Thea decide to hold a small house party for family, friends and neighbors. Thea's dreams intensify as the weekend event approaches. Noah senses that Thea is fearful and supports her as best he can.
The last few chapters of the novel were filled with suspense and intrigue as the night of the ball approaches. Grace Burrowes does an excellent job balancing Noah and Thea emotions and actions as the story approaches it's resolution. Noah senses that something is clearly upsetting his Duchess and resolves to protect Thea. There were several times that I thought I knew the identity of the villain. I had three possibilities at the start of the house party. One suspect was eliminated and two remained. I was surprised when all was revealed. My favorite part of the unmasking was Noah's reaction. It was both practical and loving. I was both pleased and surprised with the story's ending.
The Duke's Disaster is an engaging read. I loved how the managing Duke and his Lady learned to trust each other as they fell in love as their family and friends watched. If you have not read any of the authors works, please note that this is a stand alone novel and can be read and enjoyed on it's own.
Grace Burrowes's The Duke's Disaster is on my keeper shelf.
Reviewed by Susan Gorman
ARC provided by Sourcebooks.