Nov 10, 2015

The Reluctant Duchess

The Reluctant Duchess book cover

by Sharon Cullen
book review rating 2.5 out of 5

THE RELUCTANT DUCHESS, by Sharon Cullen, is a sweet historical romance with a touch of suspense to make the heart race…but not wildly.

Lady Sara Emerson’s beloved cousin—Meredith—was tragically murdered. The crime was never solved. Two years later, Sara is jolted out of her dull life when she receives letters dredging up Meredith’s death.  Now, the killer seems to be targeting her. Determined to bring her cousin’s murderer to justice, Sara seeks help from the man who was once her cousin’s fiancé—Gabriel Ferguson, the Duke of Rossmoyne. However, living under his protection has its own hazards. Drawn to his fiery personality, Sara feels a delicious urge to take their relationship in "new, exquisitely inappropriate directions."

My feelings for The Reluctant Duchess are like mixed greens in a salad bowl; there is a little bit of everything.

The characters, for instance, have me pulling petals from a flower say, “I love you. I love you not.” Sara’s character is too eager to help those in need, much like a mother hen. Her kindness and stubborn determination to take care of her father at the expense of her own happiness was, again, too altruistic. I couldn’t connect with Sara because I believe you cannot set your ENTIRE life aside to take care of others who have already had the chance at living their life fully. But, I have a soft spot for sweet characters, and I like her anyways for her shyness, quiet confidence and placid beauty.

Gabriel’s character had me truly on the fence. While he did have a strong, yet vulnerable personality, and is arguably swoon-worthy, he allows his mother to dictate whom he should love. Oh no, no, no…

And speaking of mothers, I think Ms. Cullen has a wickedly good sense of humor playing up the meddling mom card. Though I think the greatest joke was actually played on me—the reader. There were many scenes in which I was welcoming the satisfaction that comes with a deeply emotional and honest conversation between Sara and Gabriel, or anticipating a sensual late night tryst, when I am jolted out of my reverie at the (un)timely appearances of the moms. Such an unexpected and unpleasant mental cold shower. Ha ha. I hope my next book by Ms. Cullen will leave me just a touch less high and dry.

DISCUSSION: Who's your all time favorite swoon-worthy historical male/female lead?

{I received this title from NetGalley in exchange for my honest and humble opinion.}

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