The Dream of a Duchess (Book 1 in The Widowers of the Aristocracy Series)

Linda Rae

Isabella rides her horse the 50 miles to London to find David Fitzwilliam, because her mother told her to find him should anything happen to her. She finds him at “The Elegant Courtesan”, a brothel he owns. She tells David she saw her father murder her mother and she fears for her life! David summons his friend Octavious, Duke of Huntinghurst, who agrees to take Isabella as his ward and secretes her at his home. Isabella is in heaven at Huntinghurst, because of Octavious’ stable of racehorses. The widower has lost interest in them, but Isabella is determined to have entries in races within two years. Will Octavious see Isabella for the woman she grows up to be? Will David be able to reveal Isabella’s true parentage to her?

“The Dream of a Duchess” starts out as a fast-paced, action-packed, damsel-in-distress story. Isabella is a strong woman with a lot of horse sense, much to her benefactor’s chagrin. Octavious is sure no one will wed this young equestrian with a stubborn streak. She goes against the mores of the times. Isabella is well written and has many layers to her persona.  The pace of the story slows down, making the story less compelling. The remainder of the characters tend to be flat and are too much in the background. Octavious gradually develops over the course of the story, but it is too little, too late. “The Dream of a Duchess” is a fun story with several subplots that keep it fresh. This is the first book in a new series, and is excellent as a standalone! 

Belinda Wilson