Genres: Historical, Romance, Historical Romance, Regency
No one could ever accuse Rebecca Tremaine of being a proper young lady. She's wretched at embroidery, pitiful at the pianoforte, and entirely too informed about the human body, courtesy of her father's scientific journals. And now she's been compromised by a dandy she despises! When her parents arrange a hasty marriage, there is only one man she can turn to for help.
No one knows that Irish groom Connor Riordan is the fifth Duke of Dunbrooke, "killed" in action at Waterloo, and he wants it to stay that way. But a true gentleman never turns away a damsel in distress. Soon Connor and Rebecca dash away—only to be pursued by bumbling highwaymen, a scheming duchess, and Rebecca's fiancé.
Being with the beautiful and desirable Rebecca jeopardizes Connor's secret every day—and tests his willpower every night. For if ever there was a reason to bring the Duke of Dunbrooke back from the dead, it would be to make Miss Tremaine his Duchess!
Not as satisfying as other JAL.
Thoughts on The Runaway Duke
The Runaway Duke is an earlier work by Julie Anne Long, and it shows. This book didn’t have the push and pull of emotions that I’ve come to expect from JAL. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t fantastic either.
I had a similar experience with Julia Quinn’s earlier works.
As an author myself, I find this sort of experience is important, however: It shows that everyone has to start somewhere, and that there are always ways to improve. If the JAL of now had written this book, it likely would have read a lot differently. But she didn’t, and that’s fine.
Connor is a duke hiding out as a groom, because his father was an asshole and when the opportunity presented itself to disappear, he took it. This kind of character isn’t unique in historical romance, except for maybe the fact that he was successfully avoiding his past until he decided to help Rebecca escape a marriage.
And not that I wanted Rebecca to marry the man who set out to seduce her sister, but… carting Rebecca away seemed like a drastic move from Connor. The love between them built at sort of an odd pace, where the climax of the book wasn’t their “I love you”s or marriage proposal, but the resolution of Connor’s past.
The potential of the bleak moment when Rebecca has lost all faith in Connor was never realized with their quick reunion. Give me more angst! More anger! More groveling… whatever.