Desperately Seeking A Duke by Celeste Bradley
Series: Heiress Brides #1
Published by Macmillan
Publication Date: March 4th 2008
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The only way for vicar's daughter Phoebe Millbury to inherit a family fortune is to find herself a duke--just as her late grandfather demanded in his will. But Phoebe, who's still trying to make good after a romantic scandal, also has her two cousins to contend with. They're all competing for the same money, maybe even the same men. ..until Phoebe meets her match in the terribly handsome and charming Rafe Marbrook.
When she receives a marriage proposal from the Marquis of Brookhaven, Phoebe is thrilled to learn that Rafe is headed for dukedom...and accepts his offer. There's only one problem: It's from Rafe's older, less captivating brother, Calder. Now Phoebe finds herself on the verge of yet another scandal as she faces a desperate choice: Marry Calder for his money--or follow her own heart? Each way can only lead to trouble...
I was somewhat disappointed with this book. After reading the The Liars Club Series followed by The Royal Four Series, I had high expectations. Unfortunately it fell short of the mark.
Let me start with the name “Marbrook”. Not that it has anything to really do with the storyline itself, but I don’t like that name. Every time it said Marbrook, I would read it as Marlboro (no, I’m not a smoker). So while that really is just a me being, well, me, it still annoyed the crap out of me.
Never say Phoebe Millbury would choose money over love. Phoebe is a romantic at heart and a sensualist by nature. It should come as no surprise to the reader to learn that at 16, Phoebe ran off with her dance instructor, only to be deserted by him the very next day. Having worked for years to get back in her father’s good graces, Phoebe is determined to be the proper young woman that can make the Vicar proud. To do that, she is determined that she will find a duke to marry, therefore fulfilling the terms of her grandfather’s will and getting his fortune.
What she doesn’t count on is her attraction to Rafe Marlboro. After meeting him at a ball, Phoebe is certain that this is the man for her. When she gets a proposal from Marlboro himself via her aunt and learns he is actually in line for a dukedom, it’s that much sweeter. Unfortunately for Phoebe, she fails to get the first name of the man who has proposed. It’s not until she comes face to face with Brookhaven himself that she realizes what a colossal mistake she’s made. Does she correct it? Of course not. That’d be waaaay too easy.
At this point I started groaning.
This is the story where a rake reforms faster than you can blink. Suddenly he’s found the woman of his dreams and he will do anything to get her. It’s just plain bad luck that said rake is a bastard son. Then of course there’s the fact that the woman in question has just agreed to marry his brother, the legitimate one. The brother that had everything. The brother that has never had to go through what he went through.
Cry me a river.
In the meantime, Phoebe and her entourage move to Brook House (or whatever it’s called) at Brookhaven’s insistence. And it wouldn’t be a complete cluster without a vicious scheming aunt who can see that her slut of a niece wants the bastard son for herself. So she’ll throw them together whenever possible, meanwhile her own step daughter (Phoebe’s cousin) will work her feminine wiles on Brookhaven. She lost the memo from her step daughter that said “I hate your guts.”.
But wait, there’s more.
After all that, you have to throw in two wily solicitors who have suddenly realized that their job of taking care of the grandfather’s money (you remember, the money the granddaughter who marries a duke will get?) will be gone if one of the girls actually marries a duke. What does that mean? That means they have to put together the most ridiculously stupid plan possible. If you think you know what it is, think even more stupid.
Does this all mean that I won’t read the 2nd book? Of course not. I’m reading it right now as a matter of fact.
3 out of 5.