Series: Duchess of Love #2
Also in this series: Bedding Lord Ned
Genres: Historical, Regency, Romance
One naughty little masquerade can't hurt…
Frances Hadley has managed her family’s estate for years. So why can’t she request her own dowry? She’ll have to go to London herself and knock some sense into the men interfering in her life. With the nonsense she’s dealt with lately, though, there’s no way she’s going as a woman. A pair of breeches and a quick chop of her red curls, and she’ll have much less to worry about…
Jack Valentine, third son of the famous Duchess of Love, is through being pursued by pushy young ladies. One particularly determined miss has run him out of his own house party. Luckily the inn has one bed left—Jack just has to share with a rather entertaining red-headed youth. Perhaps the two of them should ride to London together. It will make a pleasant escape from his mother’s matchmaking melodrama!
More surprising for old people fornicating.
Thoughts on Surprising Lord Jack
Y’all, this is the old people fornicating series. Not surprising, considering that, despite being about the Duchess of Love’s boys, the series title is the Duchess of Love herself. While there’s less fornicating in book 2, it’s hinted at enough to make me think mom and dad are getting it on more than their children.
Which is… well, we all have parents. I won’t say more than that.
Surprising Lord Jack begins almost exactly where Bedding Lord Ned (again, where there’s less bedding of Lord Ned than bedding of his parents) leaves off, though of course from Jack’s (and Frances’s) POV.
Jack, while not cookie cutter historical romance hero material, isn’t outside the realm of what you’d expect a hero to be. He hides his activities (saving women and children from poverty, death, and other unsavory happenings) under a carefully cultivated rakish reputation. Jack worked. He was kind and sweet, and his devotion to Frances was completely in line with his character.
Frances, on the other hand, deals with a lot of upheaval and change — to the point that I had to wonder if she was romance heroine material. Everything she learns about how she grew up throws her into turmoil, making her question who she is and her values.
Can you fall in lasting love when you’re still figuring out who you are? It’s not impossible, of course, but I had my doubts at the end of the book. I don’t like being left to entertain doubts at the end of a book.
Not mentioned in the synopsis is the murders of women of ill-repute that Jack is determined to solve. It’s a rather important plot thread that was surprisingly easy to figure out. But as a long-time mystery reader who also studies how to construct stories, well, it was easy to piece things together.