The Duchess Hunt by Lorraine Heath
Series: Once Upon a Dukedom #2
Publication Date: September 28, 2021
Genres: Historical Romance
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Hugh Brinsley-Norton, the Duke of Kingsland, is in need of a duchess. However, restoring the dukedom—left in ruins by his father—to its former glory demands all his time, with little room for sentiment. He places an advert encouraging the single ladies of the ton to write why they should be the one chosen, and leaves it to his efficient secretary to select his future wife.
If there exists a more unpleasant task in the world than deciding who is to marry the man you love, Penelope Pettypeace certainly can’t imagine what it might be. Still, she is determined to find the perfect bride for her clueless, yet ruthlessly charming employer.
But when an anonymous note threatens to reveal truths best hidden, Kingsland has no choice but to confront the danger with Penelope at his side. Beguiled by the strong-willed, courageous beauty, he realizes he’s willing to risk everything, including his heart, to keep her safe within his arms. Could it be the duchess he’s hunting for has been in front of him all along?
Penn has worked for the Duke of Kingsland for the past eight years and she’s made herself indispensable. She is his right hand and he’s not sure what he would do without her. King hasn’t ever seen Pettypeace (as he calls her) as anything but his secretary, but suddenly he’s seeing her in a new light. He wants to make a move, but how can he when he knows that it will change their working relationship?
Penn has been in love with King forever, but he’s very closed off and is constantly stating that he doesn’t have a heart. She knows this to be false. When he suggests that maybe, after dark when they are no longer working, that she might come to him and they can explore the attraction, Penn goes for it. Everything is great and they are pretty much able to separate their two lives together until their secrets start coming out and then their relationship is tested.
I really enjoyed this book. I love the way that Heath writes, and her books always keep me engaged. In this story I didn’t love King, but I didn’t dislike him either. I liked that he knew what he wanted and wasn’t afraid to go after it (he grew on me eventually). Penn was pretty open as well and not scared to speak her mind. Together they were a good couple. They talked to each other and communicated and I loved that.
The secrets were what annoyed me. I really wasn’t expecting King’s secret, so that was a nice surprise. It was Penn’s that drove me bonkers. I dislike when the secret is kept from the reader. This is a romance, not a mystery! In a mystery I expect it and that’s part of the anticipation. With romance it makes me nuts. Just tell the reader already! We finally find out Penn’s secret about ¾ of the way through the book and it was much more devastating than expected. I felt for Penn and her past and loved that King got over his shock and continued to love her anyway.
Overall it was an enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to the next book in this series.
Rating: 4 out of 5