Review – Daring to Love the Duke’s Heir by Janice Preston

About the Book:

She’s totally unsuitable…

…to be his Duchess!

Part of The Beauchamp Heirs: Dominic Beauchamp, Lord Avon, is a powerful duke’s heir and it’s his duty to marry well. His bride must have impeccable breeding, manners and grace. But can anyone meet his exacting standards? Certainly not the irrepressible Liberty Lovejoy, who’s been thrust into society after years of being a provincial nobody. She’s too bold, too bubbly…so why is she the only lady he’s thinking about?

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                    Daring to Love the Duke’s Heir

My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Liberty Lovejoy and her twin brother, Gideon, have always been close, but even more so over the last five years.  When their parents died, they were only nineteen, yet took on the task of raising their younger sisters, Hope and Verity, and trying to make a success of their country estate.  When Gideon unexpectedly inherits a wealthy earldom, he takes his sisters to London to provide a season for them.  Unfortunately, the heady experience has seemed to turn Gideon’s head and he’s not the same person.  He’s taken up drinking, gambling, and carousing, and the closeness he once shared with Liberty is gone.  Liberty knows that he is spending much time in the company of Alexander Beauchamp, who she believes is the one leading him astray.  Hoping to prevent Gideon’s ruin, Liberty decides to confront Alexander’s father, the Duke of Cheriton, and request that he rein in his wayward son.

Liberty, unaware of the social faux pas she is committing, goes to Cheriton’s home, only to encounter his oldest son and heir, Dominic, Marquess Avon.  Liberty is outspoken and abrupt.  When she learns the duke is away from town, she imposes on Avon to rein in his younger brother, which hopefully will curb Gideon’s wildness.  Avon is as proper as a man can be.  He’s the perfect son, the perfect duke-in-training, and the perfect society gentleman.  He’s torn between amusement at Liberty’s name, and anger at her for coming to a man’s home uninvited and unchaperoned.  The man in him is very aware of Liberty’s curves and attractiveness, though he’s careful not to show it.  He tries to assure Liberty that most young men go a little wild at first, and then settle down.  He also agrees to talk to his brother.

Early in this story, I was very unhappy with Liberty’s actions, shaking my head at some of the things she did and finding her overbearing.  I was sure I was not going to like her.  Oh, was I wrong!  It became clear that Liberty wasn’t concerned for herself, but truly for her family.  She didn’t want Gideon to lose his fortune, or to have his bad reputation filter down to her younger sisters.  She only wanted their happiness and secure futures.  Once she relaxed, her genuine charming personality began to show.

Avon, ever mindful of his duty, has decided that it’s time to find the perfect wife for himself – a high ranking socialite of good breeding, one who will be a superior duchess when that time comes.  He actually prepares a list of ladies to focus his attentions on, determined to have come to a decision by the time his father returns to town.  While Avon may have prepared his list, he didn’t prepare himself for his feelings for the most unsuitable Liberty.  Aside from his physical reaction to her, he enjoys her outspokenness, her opinions, and her caring nature.  All the other candidates seem to fade into a pale, boring blur compared to Liberty.

While Avon is proper and dutiful, he’s not a stick in the mud, especially with his family and with Liberty.  Soon they are comfortably in a first-name, teasing relationship, which they both call “friendship.”  The undercurrents between them fairly sizzle, and they are constantly seeking each other out.  When passion finally overtakes them, Avon proposes, as any proper gentleman would do.  But Liberty doesn’t want a dutiful proposal.  She wants to be freely chosen and loved for herself.  Will they find a way to be together?

DARING TO LOVE THE DUKE’S HEIR is such an outstanding love story!  I loved both Liberty and Avon, and their developing romance.  I kept cheering for Avon to get past a childhood promise he made to his deceased mother, and to embrace happiness and joy.  I feel this book is Janice Preston’s best writing to date, as the ballroom scene at the end nearly took my breath away.  The chemistry, the characters, and the pacing were all perfect, making this a book for my keeper shelf, and one that I most heartily recommend.    ~Rose

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