Don’t Judge A Duke By His Cover

Emily E. K. Murdoch

Lawrence, Duke of Penshaw is on a mission from the crown to catch a man who committed treason and murdered his brother. Assuming the identity of Lawrence Madgwick to go undercover as a boxer, he sheds all of society including his title and wealth, to flush out and capture John Mortimer. Julia Dryden is tired of being told what she can’t do and convinces her brother to take her to an illegal boxing ring. Will Lawrence catch the killer or is he too distracted by the beautiful Julia? Will their social status keep them apart, or will they be able to bridge the gap and be together against the odds?

An enthralling, page-turning tale that’s hard for a reader to put down. Though the characters are enjoyable and relatable, the impetuous nature of Julia seems hard to believe for the period. It’s a bit unreal how she frequently wanders London without a chaperone. The way Julia reconciles boxing in the ring versus in real life is a nice touch. She realizes fighting outside the ring is plain brutal while she enjoys watching the fights in the ring. A bit more time could have been spent on hunting for Mortimer, as it would make the tale even more interesting. Rank and class have so much power in the era it is nice to see both characters get past their differences, which seem insurmountable at first, and get to know one another without social pretenses getting in the way. They each realize under different circumstances they might never have met, let alone fallen in love.

Amy Rubottom