© 2006 All Rights Reserved Readers & Writers Ink Reviews
ONLY A DUKE WILL DO
By Sabrina Jeffries
Historical romance (Georgian England)
Characters first seen in The Royal Brotherhood, Ms. Jeffries's trilogy about three young byblows of the Prince Regent, receive their long-awaited spotlight in ONLY A DUKE WILL DO, second in the School for Heiresses trilogy.
Louisa North may be the daughter of King George IV, but her pursuits come into direct conflict with the aims of His Majesty's reform-abhorring ministers. Louisa looks for ways to improve the lives of women and children in prison. It's a better way to spend her time than remembering how Simon Tremaine betrayed her seven years ago. The king sent him to India while Louisa struggled to keep her reputation unsullied.
After serving a term as governor-general of India, Tremaine, who is the Duke of Foxmoor, has returned, anxious that George keep his promise to make him prime minister. Well, George says he will, but he needs Foxmoor to take care of a slight problem first. Louisa. Marry her, start a family and get her away from reformers. Foxmoor agrees, determined to follow in his grandfather's footsteps as prime minister, but what the king doesn't know is that Simon is a reformer himself.
The cross purposes and ulterior motives are superbly laid out as Louisa and Simon realize their passion of years past is as strong as ever. Whether it interferes with their plans or fulfills their hearts' desires they will have to discover. That they also have the chance to lay old demons to rest while discovering their common goals is woven into the story with a sure touch.
Adding to the effortlessly told tale are an elderly couple who still light up when their spouse enters the room, a prisoner who holds the key to unlocking Foxmoor's darkest shame, Louisa's brother and Foxmoor's sister -- who were the focus of a Royal Brotherhood novel -- and the delightful Mrs. Hughes and her mysterious correspondent, cousin Michael.
Ms. Jeffries knows how to create characters to care about, placed in situations that reflect their time and place in society. Her books are not light-hearted romps, being far more full-bodied than that, but they do offer joys and travails, sensual pleasure and moments of laughter.
Although the books in both series are self-contained, they are even more rewarding if read as part of both sets. There is one book remaining in the School for Heiresses trilogy, but there are many characters who it would be a pleasure to encounter in even further tales. Especially cousin Michael, who Mrs. Hughes has never met. As far as we know.
Well done, Sabrina Jeffries! It's a delight to see exciting historicals still being published by an accomplished storyteller.
-- Reviewed by Lynne Perednia
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