Duke of Disgrace


REGENCY:  Lord Jeremy Hareden came home from the war a duke, without a hand, harboring an opiate addiction and a wife who is publicly cuckolding him. From the time he was young, however, he swore he would never become like his unfeeling, philandering father. While his personal life is crumbling, however, his success with money is multiplying and he finds he is in desperate need of a personal secretary. However, he discovers that the best-suited applicant is a woman!  

Because of an unwanted indiscretion, Charlotte Masbeck’s station within society has been ruined.  She grew up a steward’s daughter and loves the work, though, so when the opportunity presents itself, she hesitantly accepts a position with “The Duke of Disgrace.”  What she discovers is a kind and caring man.  One who sees the needs of others and readily helps - except in his own life. Can Charlotte help the Duke learn to trust and love again, or will his demons overcome his desires for the happiness he so deserves?  

What an innovative and interesting choice of subject matter!  All the norms in Regency writing are turned on their heels with the woman doing the philandering and the man staying true to his vows. The topic of substance abuse is also deftly explored. The problem is not in the wonderfully interesting story but the fact that there are just way too many words for the amount of actual plot. The character introductions alone took the first 25% of the book! Also, the majority of the story wasn’t lived but merely told in past tense through the characters reflecting back.  Still, if one can overlook those drawbacks, the heart of this tale is truly wonderful!

Ruth Lynn Ritter