Duke Most Wanted (Heiress Brides, #3) by Celeste Bradley
Series: The Heiress Brides #3
Also in this series: Desperately Seeking A Duke, The Duke Next Door (Heiress Brides, #2), Duke Most Wanted (Heiress Brides, #3)
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: April 29, 2008
Genres: Historical Romance
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Sophie Blake’s grandfather willed his fortune to the first of his granddaughters to marry a duke. Since her cousin, Deirdre, will seal the deal any day now, the quiet, bookish Sophie can sit back and enjoy her time with the only man she truly adores: Graham. No matter that the part charmer, part scoundrel has absolutely no designs on her! Sophie is content to engage Graham in lively conversation, beat him at cards. . .and probe at the darkness hiding behind his rakish smile.
Then Graham unexpectedly gains a title, an estate in near ruins and a mountain of debt. If there is any chance of survival he must find a rich wife—quickly. As his hunt for a bride begins, Sophie realizes that she isn’t even in the running. Suddenly no longer content to be a wallflower, Sophie gets a stunning make-over and becomes the belle of the ball. Lots of heads are turning…including Graham’s. But this beauty has secrets of her own. Will she be his salvation or seal his fate?
This is the third and final installment in The Heiress Bride series.
Sophie Blake is the cousin who never considered that she would have a chance at the Pinkering fortune. Accepting herself for who she knows she is, Sophie doesn’t even consider trying to find a duke to marry. Actually, she doesn’t consider finding anyone to marry at all. All she wants to do is enjoy London, enjoy her books, and enjoy her newest friend. The awkwardness that Sophie usually feels around men is absent when she is with Graham. Lord Graham Cavendish was brutally honest when he told Sophie that he could never be attracted to someone as plain as her. While that would sound downright mean to some people actually helped Sophie overcome her natural shyness and enjoy the company of a man for the first time in her life. It’s not Graham’s fault that her feeling develop into more. She decides to keep quiet, promising herself that she will do nothing to risk losing her friendship with Graham.
That all changes when Graham’s father and his heirs all die while in Africa. Suddenly Graham is the Duke of Endecourt and he has to find a rich woman to marry, the sooner the better. According to her grandfather’s will, Sophie can’t tell Graham that she stands to inherit a fortune. What she can do is shed her plain persona and become a woman that Graham will sit up and take notice of.
As for Graham, he’s suddenly seeing Sophie in a new light. Of course it happens after he couldn’t possibly do anything about it. Unlike his father and brothers before him, Graham is determined that he is going to put Endecourt and its’ people above his own wants. That means pursuing Sophie is out of the question.
I liked this book the most out of the three. There’s a twist that I didn’t see coming toward the end, but I can’t spoil it. I actually thought I read it wrong and had to go back to re-read it. It was almost thrown in as an afterthought which was either awful or brilliant. There was one thing that I didn’t like about this book. At the end, Tessa (the evil stepmother/aunt) turned a new leaf. It was laughable. This woman was the most viperous, vicious, vindictive character you can imagine. And at the end she apologized to Sophie for her atrocious behavior? That seems bad enough by itself, but it’s the why of it that makes it worse. She finally found a man that won’t put up with her crap. After how this character was written, I wanted her to get thrown out on her bum by all three of them women. If not that, at least shunned by society. Something to make up for how awful she was in all three books. Alas, it didn’t happen and the blood thirsty part of me was left wanting.
Overall, readers of this series should enjoy this third and final installment.
4 out of 5.