Duke of Disrepute (Dukes of Distinction, #3)

Alexa Aston
Narrator: Brian J. Gill

HISTORICAL: When her husband dies, Lady Elise Ruthersby becomes an unpaid governess to the new earl’s children, with only her daughter, Claire, for company and no one to share her grief. Returning from a final visit to her dying parents, Elise and Claire are trapped in a perilously disabled carriage and rescued by Weston, the Duke of Treadwell. After years living up to the terrible reputation his former fiancée built, Weston has decided to settle down and marry. Elise seems the ideal duchess, but he must be careful not to frighten her, so he agrees to help her find a husband if she aids his search for a wife, never letting on that he’s already decided.

Regency readers who enjoy the reformed rake trope will appreciate this story, though little about its plot is surprising. Both Weston and Elise are oblivious to their feelings for one another, which some may find frustrating, especially paired with the fact that these two spend much of the book apart. Weston and Elise do not meet until the latter part of the story, and it takes quite a while for any sparks to fly between them on the page, rendering their story somewhat of an exercise in patience, especially since there is no apparent reason why Elise should be so blind to Weston as a marriage candidate and some aspects of her circumstances stretch believability. The story does lose quite a bit of its steam near the end, but most readers are bound to enjoy Weston’s romantic declaration of his feelings, despite an interruption of flow by a late-coming plot addition that feels misplaced in the narrative, many will be pleased by the conclusion.

This narrator does a lovely job of engrossing the reader but could imbue scenes with more emotion, rather than perfunctory storytelling.

Niki Price