Tracy’s review of When the Duke Found Love (Wylder Sisters #3) by Isabella Bradford
The youngest of the Wylder girls—and the last left unwed—Lady Diana is also the most willful, a trait that’s leading her ever closer to dishonorable disaster. While her family’s solution is a fast and excruciatingly respectable marriage, Diana can’t imagine being wed to the very staid and dull Lord Crump. But while wedding plans are being made, a chance meeting at a gala turns Diana’s world upside down.
A kiss from a dazzling stranger gives Diana a most intimate introduction to one of the ton’s most resolute and scandalous bachelors, the Duke of Sheffield. Torn between family duty and her heart’s desire, Diana recklessly surrenders to the headiest of passions, recognizing that she has found a kindred soul in the handsome young duke. Soon it’s clear that seduction is no longer the game: Something deep and lasting has come to bind their hearts, and the stakes are nothing less than true love.
The third Wylder sister, Diana, is just 18 years old and has been living in London with her sister Charlotte for the past 2 years. She is quite excited about the balls she goes to and the clothes and hats she gets to wear and she loves the flirtations. She’s fun, has a quick wit – she’s young and free and she’s beautiful. It’s a good time in her life. Unfortunately she’s not the best judge of character and has had an “almost” scandal that the gossips are still whispering about from the previous summer. Now it’s April and she’s told one day by Charlotte and her mother that they worry that no man will marry her after her scandal and so the mother has accepted an offer of marriage from a Maquis named Lord Crump. Diana is not happy about this to say the least but when her mother explains to her that if she’s to become accepted she needs to be married to a respectable man. Diana knows she has to step up and be the daughter that her mother expects her to be so she reluctantly accepts a meeting with the man. It’s a good thing too since her mother and sister tell her all this on the way to meet the guy! Nothing like springing it on a girl!
Lord Crump is stern, tight-lipped and not pleasant at all. From moment one Diana wants out of the marriage but what can she do but go along with things. She certainly doesn’t expect to meet the Duke of Sheffield and fall in love with him, but she does.
Sheffield is more like Diana and unfortunately he’s gotten himself into one scandal or another as well. The king now wants him to marry to prove that he has changed his ways (like that would do it) and has even picked out a woman for him. Lady Enid, however, is in love with someone else and doesn’t want to marry Sheffield. He agrees that marriage would be a bad idea, especially as he finds himself falling for Diana and even arranges for Enid and her love to be together. But how can he get Diana away from Crump when she’s determined to do the right thing?
Oh, this book. It made me a little crazy at times. The first part of the book when the mom and Charlotte are talking to Diana about responsibility and then pairing her with this awful man saying that he will “tame” her so to speak. The fact that they say they love her and then force her to be with this awful man is just beyond me. If they loved her at all they wouldn’t have tried to crush her spirit. Crump is an awful man from moment one and I was so agitated at the mom and Charlotte (who, if you read book one was also a bit of a free spirit but is now a stuffy – and I do mean stuffy – duchess) that I almost didn’t continue reading. Not to mention the Duke of Breconridge aka Brecon who is cousins to Sheffield, March and Hawke and even helped with the Crump/Diana match. I just saw him as a pompous interfering busybody and wanted him gone from the book entirely. But I did and things got a bit better.
Sheffield was so cute in his pursuit and the fact that he was trying to help Lady Enid warmed my heart. He didn’t have to do anything to help them but he did and I loved that. He may not have gone about everything perfectly but his heart was in the right place and I had to admire him for it.
Diana was just confused and I didn’t blame her. Her family wanted her to be someone she was not and didn’t see how they were hurting her by forcing her to marry Crump. He’s SO awful I can’t even tell you. At one point at a dinner the family finds out that he’s allergic to cats because he starts to sneeze and asks if there’s a cat in the house. Fig is a cat that is Diana’s love and she’ll never be parted with. This is what happens and it will give you a taste of the ass that is Crump:
“Cats,” he finally managed to say. “Forgive me, Your Grace, but is there a cat somewhere in this house?”
“I have a cat,” Diana said, stepping forward. “Her name is Fig, and she is my dearest pet.”
He held up his hand to keep her at a distance. “I cannot tolerate cats,” he said. “They are the devil’s own creatures, and as poison to me. Your cat must be sent away at once.”
“No!” exclaimed Diana. “I love Fig! She is coming with me tomorrow. I already have her basket prepared for traveling.”
“If you bring that cat, Lady Diana, I shall myself wring its neck and fling its body from the carriage,” Crump declared, his red-rimmed eyes so determined that there was no doubt he’d do exactly as he said. “Unless you wish to become a widow as soon as you are a wife, you will never bring a cat near me, nor suffer one to soil your person with its vile scent.”
Oh boy. I wanted to Diana to finally stand up to her mother and say – oh HELL no I won’t marry this man – but no, she’s the good little daughter. *Sigh*
Ok, so eventually Diana realizes that she needs to be with Sheffield and things work out for them but it was kind of a slow road getting there. When that did happen and everyone found out I expected speeches and tears but everyone was just kind of resigned once they married. I didn’t think the reactions were appropriate for how the family acted throughout the book and that was frustrating as well.
In the end it was a love/hate relationship with the book. I guess I should look at it as the author certainly knows how to write a “villain” so to speak and she did it well. I just wish the beginning and end would have been as good as the middle. Still a good book but I have to say that my favorite of the series was definitely book 1.
Rating: 3 out of 5
You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place
This book is available from Ballantine. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.