I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Once Upon a Dukedom #3
by Lorraine Heath
Hardcover, 304 pages
Expected publication: July 26th 2022
by Avon Books
In the thrilling third book in New York Times bestselling author Lorraine Heath’s Once Upon a Dukedom series, the dashing son of a disgraced duke teams up with a sultry beauty to thwart an assassination plot against Queen Victoria.
When his father, the Duke of Wolfford, is hanged for an assassination attempt on Queen Victoria, Marcus Stanwick is stripped of everything. Vowing to return honor to his family, he seeks to expose the others involved in the treasonous plot and bring them to justice. His search forces him to turn to a woman he despises for her unforgiveable betrayal–a woman known as the heartless harlot.
Harboring secrets, Esme Lancaster has her own reasons for wanting to discover who’s behind the conspiracy that’s still afoot. She doesn’t trust Marcus but can’t deny the handsome devil makes her wonder if she does indeed possess a heart, one he could very easily steal.
As their hunt for the truth leads them into danger, Marcus finds Esme isn’t cold and calculating as he’d assumed but fire and brimstone, with courage and determination to match his own. Soon, they’re unable to deny their growing desire for each other. But giving into temptation comes at a cost, and they must decide if love is worth the risk of losing their one chance for redemption.
Lorraine Heath is one of my all-time favorite go to authors for historical romance. Her Dutchess Hunt series installment number three starts with Wolff, Marcus Stanwick coming out of the shadows to confront his father’s mistress Esme. Living in hiding, he is out to clear his and his family’s names as accessories to treason. Esme is not at all what he is bargaining for. She’s younger than he thought, and the chemistry at their meeting in undeniable. Beneath the surface of her outward facade is much more than meets the eye. The two work together well as a team. There were a few stale moments with their informant “O,” but overall, I tore through this book. It’s good to see Marcus come out of his hardened shell.
Readers will also lean about the relationship between Queen Victoria and her personal guardsman as well as early spy trinkets in the final chapters/ epilogue. Victorian Romance with a twist! I cannot wait for the other characters to tell their stories and the Chessmen. Bring on more books.
Thank you to NetGalley, Avon and Harper Voyager for providing me with a free advanced reading copy of this book for review purposes.