Baldwin Undercross, Duke of Sheffield, has a secret he’s keeping from almost everyone he knows and loves. He is destitute, thanks to gambling by his late father and his own bad decisions. There is only one option now: marry for money, and do it soon. An opportunity presents itself when a rich American woman arrives in Society hunting for a title in trade for a huge dowry.
Helena Monroe is the companion to her entitled cousin, and she is miserable. But once she encounters Baldwin on a terrace, her time in England starts to look up. She quickly realizes he believes she is her cousin, and everything starts to fall apart.
Baldwin is now torn between a future that will save his family legacy and one with a woman he is growing increasingly attached to. Will he choose safety or passion, obligation or love?
Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link: The Duke of Nothing (The 1797 Club Book 5)
Baldwin Undercross, Duke of Sheffield, knew that his beloved father loved to gamble, but it wasn’t until he inherited the title that he learned just how dire the situation was. By continually robbing Peter to pay Paul and keeping intentionally sloppy records, the former duke hid from his family that he had wagered away everything, leaving his son with nothing but debts. When a desperate gamble of his own backfires, Baldwin becomes despondent, and realizes that he must follow his mother’s suggestion to marry an heiress. Among those under consideration is Charity, an American, who is in England with her wealthy father, who seeks to buy a lofty title for her.
When Baldwin encounters a lovely American lady on the terrace at a ball, he feels an immediate connection, and feels that courting her would be a definite pleasure. Unfortunately, the lady is not Charity, but her cousin and companion, Helena Monroe, who is penniless. Baldwin is crushed when he learns the truth, and stoically decides to carry on with pursuing an heiress, and ignoring his attraction to Helena. Fate, however, ensures that they keep meeting, and it gets harder and harder for them to deny their feelings. Baldwin honestly confesses his feelings to Helena, and lets her know just how bad his financial situation is, and that he would love to pursue her if things were different.
Baldwin’s friends and family know that he has not been the same man since his father died. While many know there is financial trouble, they don’t realize the extent of it. Baldwin is tortured by his own foolish decision which made his situation worse. When his friends from the 1797 Club beg him to confide his troubles and to let them help, Baldwin’s pride and his feelings of shame cause him to reject their offers. I like and admire Baldwin, despite his error in judgment. When he failed, he didn’t repeat his mistake. I also admire his honesty in dealing with Helena. Still, I wanted him to let go of some of his pride, and accept help – something I’m sure he would offer if the situation were reversed, and one of his friends was in need.
Helena is a lovely lady who suffered a horrible incident in America, causing her family and friends to reject her, leaving her to become a servant to her wealthy cousin, Charity, and her cruel uncle. I admire her strength and her resolve in accepting that there was no future with Baldwin, while at the same time, I wanted to urge her to fight for him. When Baldwin finally realizes that a future with Helena and no money is worth more than any fortune, he decides that love is more important. Unfortunately, there is someone powerful who disagrees, and is determined to destroy Baldwin’s and Helena’s short-lived happiness.
DUKE OF NOTHING is the latest installment in the wonderful 1797 Club series, which is about a group of friends from school, all heirs to ducal titles. This may well be my favorite so far, though all previous books have been exceptional. I found plenty of emotion (and some tears) in this story, along with a passionate love, genuine romance, beautiful friendships, and an honorable couple very deserving of their hard won happy ever after. I highly recommend DUKE OF NOTHING, and it can be read as a standalone, though I fully expect you’ll want to pick up the previous books if you start with this one. -Rose