by Sally MacKenzie
Series: Duchess of love #2
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance
One naughty little masquerade can't hurt… Unladylike Behavior- 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!
When I requested Surprising Lord Jack I was intrigued by the synopsis. A girl disguised as a man who ends up sharing a bed with a Duke? I am all in! I didn’t realize at the time that this was book two in the Duchess of Love series but I am delighted to report that this works as a standalone. From the very first page, MacKenzie had me swept up in Frances Hadley’s story and I enjoyed every minute of this delightfully captivating and suspenseful tale. Three-word review: Funny, romantic, suspenseful.
Frances escapes her childhood home disguised as a lad and heads off to London to request her dowry and escape her Aunt’s dastardly plans to marry her off. When her horse becomes lame she is forced to stop at an inn. The inn is full except for the room reserved for Valentine family. Since the family is hosting a ball, the landlady takes pity on the poor lad and offers him (her) the room. Exhausted and fearful of being discovered she climbs under the covers fully dressed and promptly drifts off to sleep. When Lord Jack shows up requesting his room, he discovers it is occupied. When the landlady informs him of the young lad, Lord Jack agrees to share the bed and see that the lad safely arrives in London. The tale that unfolds while predictable was fast-paced, romantic, and completely enjoyable!
Frances is twenty-four and has lived with her Aunt since her mother’s passing at the tender age of twelve. Her twin brother went off to London and her father traipses the world studying flora. Both have shown no interest in her well-being. I instantly liked Frances and the more I discovered about her the more I liked her. She is smart, quick-witted, naïve, and slightly damaged. Her past has left her with a lot of misconceptions and watching her sort things out was a pleasure. Lord Jack rumored to be a rogue is handsome, caring and a humanitarian. He is honorable and you cannot help but fall in love with him. The interaction between the two of them was quite enjoyable, and as their relationship developed it felt sweet, passionate and genuine. I adored Jack’s parents especially the Duchess. (The Duchess of Love).
I will admit to loving this type of plot where a girl trying to escape ends up being ruined unless the man who accidentally became involved steps in and does the honorable thing. MacKenzie added a few twists to make the tale fresh and I loved it. There is also a murder mystery threaded into the tale. Lord Jack and his friends are working to solve the case and guard the woman as well. It added a nice suspense level to the tale and I loved guessing whodunit. Shakespeare a clever dog won my heart and I enjoyed all of the secondary characters as well. The tale flowed wonderfully and the romance developed slowly. I plan to go back and read book one Bedding Lord Ned, which deals with Lord Jack’s older brother and will continue the series.
Fans of historical romances will find Surprising Lord Jack the perfect escape for a rainy afternoon.
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