Tag: The Heiress Brides

Review: Duke Most Wanted by Celeste Bradley

Posted August 24, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Duke Most Wanted by Celeste BradleyReviewer: Holly
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 Paperbacks
Publication Date: April 29, 2008
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 342
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

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?

I was browsing my library for an audiobook to listen to on my commute and came across Duke Most Wanted. If I’ve read Bradley before, I don’t remember it. It’s the third in the series, but I don’t feel like I missed anything by skipping the first two. I really enjoyed this book. It was a lot of fun. It even had a plot twist at the end I didn’t see coming, something that rarely happens with me.

Sophie Blake’s grandfather secretly willed his entire fortune to the first of his granddaughter’s to marry a duke. Unlike her cousins, Phoebe and Deirdre, Sophie isn’t interested in finding a Duke, or really any husband at all. First, she’s too plain to ever catch the notice of one. Second, she’s hiding a pretty big secret. Third, she doesn’t want to be married. She’s just enjoying her first taste of freedom. And if she happens to have a slight..infatuation…with the youngest son of a Duke? Well, no one has to know. It’s not like he’d be interested in her, anyway. When one of the most sought after designers in London decides to take her under his wing and transform her, she decides maybe it’s time to do something for herself. It would be too much to hope Graham would notice her, but maybe she could find herself a husband after all.

Graham is doing his best to live up to his responsibility as the youngest son….he drinks, he carouses, he….enjoys spending time with a wallflower. He doesn’t let that one get out, but when his father and three older brothers are killed and he suddenly inherits the title, along with a mountain of debt, Sophie is the only one he wants to tell. Too bad he has to find a rich bride instead of indulging his sudden feelings toward Sophie.

This was such an unexpected gem. I was in the mood for something light and fun, and this hit the spot. I really enjoyed the banter and chemistry between Graham and Sophie. I also liked how blunt and unconventional she was, even through all her shyness with men (except Graham, who put her at ease when they first met by telling her he’d never marry her. While it may sound harsh, it actually relieved her mind so much she was able to relax with him and be herself). I also really enjoyed Graham’s growth over the course of the novel. He’s content to be a philanderer and a rake, until he realizes all the responsibility for their tenants now rests on his shoulders. That isn’t to say he immediately transformed into a paragon of society, but I felt his struggle to do the right thing was very real. Because I felt they had a pretty solid friendship before his father dies, I felt their separation was kind of contrived. It wasn’t really necessary for Sophie to become “someone else” in order to catch is attention (she didn’t do it for that reason, nor did he “notice” her simply because she wore different gowns, but even so, it felt like there was no point in it).

Toward the end there’s a revelation I saw coming, but the way it was related pulled me out of the story. It just seemed to land on the page out of nowhere. I thought I had the entire thing figured out, but there ended up being a major plot twist I didn’t see coming.

View Spoiler »

While parts of the story were problematic for me (namely Sophie’s transformation, the secondary plot featuring the bumbling idiot who manages the trust, the lack of comeuppance for Tessa the evil chaperone, etc), I can’t deny the story was engaging and fun. I really enjoyed Sophie and Graham.

4 out of 5

The Heiress Brides

four-stars


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Review: Duke Most Wanted by Celeste Bradley

Posted May 13, 2008 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Duke Most Wanted by Celeste BradleyReviewer: Casee
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 Paperbacks
Publication Date: April 29, 2008
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 342
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

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.

The Heiress Brides

four-stars


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The Duke Next Door by Celeste Bradley

Posted April 23, 2008 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

The Duke Next Door by Celeste BradleyReviewer: Casee
The Duke Next Door (Heiress Brides, #2) by Celeste Bradley
Series: The Heiress Brides #2
Also in this series: Desperately Seeking A Duke, Duke Most Wanted (Heiress Brides, #3), Duke Most Wanted (Heiress Brides, #3)
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: April 1, 2008
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 341
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

The dangerously beautiful Deirdre Cantor is determined to inherit her grandfather’s vast fortune. All she needs is to marry a duke…and be the first granddaughter to walk down the aisle. After all, she has always dreamed of becoming a member of the haute ton. So when the proper Calder Marbrook, the Marquis of Brookhaven and future Duke of Brookmoor, is abandoned at the altar, Deirdre makes it her business to become his wife—in spite of the whispers about his past.

Soon Deirdre’s visions of a lavish existence with the handsome Calder are shattered when she learns his shocking secret. Feeling betrayed, Deirdre seeks revenge by playing a perilous and seductive game of cat and mouse with her husband that threatens to drive them both to the heights of passion. She will not surrender to him, no matter how great her desire. But at what cost?  Calder is determined to keep his secret under lock and key—and to make his stunning wife his in every way that matters. Even if it means winning her heart all over again…

For me, this was a vast improvement over Desperately Seeking a Duke. This was more believeable, for one thing. It was also more like what I’ve come to expect when I pick a book up by Celeste Bradley.

I’m always somewhat fascinated when an author takes a character that has previously been so un-likeable and actually makes said character likeable. That’s how Deirdre was for me. I didn’t like her in Desperately Seeking a Duke. She seemed like an opportunistic, social climbing airhead. Though you get an inkling at the end of the book that there is more to Deirdre than meets the eye, it’s still was not quite enough to have me believing that she would be a good heroine.

When Sophie breaks her engagement with Calder Marbrook, the Marquis of Brookhaven, Deirdre sees it as her opportunity to marry the man that she loves. Yes, loves. Though the fact that he is next in line to the dukedom is a nice bonus, Deirdre has loved Calder from afar for years. When he proposed to Sophie, Deirdre was heartbroken and barely able to standby and keep her silence. I think it was at that point that my opinion about Deirdre completely changed. The fact that she didn’t try to interfere in any way between Sophie and Calder spoke volumes about her character.

Deirdre learns rather early on that Calder has been keeping a secret. A big one. It isn’t until after their wedding that she learns that Calder has a daughter. Deirdre is appalled that Calder would actually expect her to be a mother to a child that she had no idea existed. When she realizes that she’s treating eight year old Meggie exactly as Tessa (the evil stepmother) treated her as a child, Deirdre decides that she can only try to make the best of an impossible situation.

Though Deirdre endeared herself time and time again with how she dealt with Meggie, her childishness still came through here and there. Though never really trying to make Calder jealous, she continued to have her former suitors visit. It’s one of her former suitors that becomes obsessed with Deirdre and convinced that she really wants to be free of the Marquis of Brookhaven. Helping matters along is one of the solicitors that is managing Deirdre’s grandfather’s fortune. You’ll remember that this is one of the solicitor’s that kidnapped Rafe in Desperately Seeking a Duke.

The suspense element in this book was much more believeable. An obsessive lovestruck suitor. A jealous husband. Given Calder’s past with his wife running away with another man, he obviously jumps to the wrong conclusion about Deirdre and the poet (for the life of me, I can’t remember his name). What could have become tedious, didn’t because it didn’t take Calder long to realize that he was wrong. Of course then it’s almost too late when he comes to that realization.

The ending was fitting. I am really looking forward to reading the third and final installment in this trilogy. I think historical lovers should really enjoy this series.

4 out of 5.

The Heiress Brides

four-stars


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Review: Desperately Seeking a Duke by Celeste Bradley

Posted April 9, 2008 by Casee in Reviews | 6 Comments

Review: Desperately Seeking a Duke by Celeste BradleyReviewer: Casee
Desperately Seeking A Duke by Celeste Bradley
Series: The Heiress Brides #1
Also in this series: The Duke Next Door (Heiress Brides, #2), Duke Most Wanted (Heiress Brides, #3), Duke Most Wanted (Heiress Brides, #3)
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: March 4th 2008
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 352
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-stars

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.

The Heiress Brides

three-stars


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