ARC received for an honest review.
I have to confess that I love Lorraine Heath. To me, she is a fantastic and engaging writer. I’ve read a couple of her books and she always crabs my attention and I end up buried with my nose in the story until I finish, When the “Duke was Wicked” (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James #1) was no exception! I’m so glad I started this book on the weekend! This was such a great romantic and loving story! Once again Ms. Heath does not disappoint.
I loved Lady Grace Mabry. She was such a fine character. I loved that she was strong willed and mischievous, it makes sense given her parents history (Frannie Darling is her mother, she was in “Surrender to the Devil”). For anyone that doesn’t know, Frannie was an orphan and ran a gambling house, an occupation that she did not give up once married into society. Grace, although a member of the Ton goes to gambling houses and visits Lovingdon at his residence without a chaperone-she is not the conventional Proper English Lady. The Duke of Lovingdon was equally as fantastic. They both had such excellent chemistry and the best part is the strong friendship that they had. Grace was in love with Lovingdon for practically all her life. Lovingdon for his part is nine years her senior, he is a widower after losing both his wife and daughter to a terrible illness. He is angry in his grief and decides that all his good works were for nothing. Even though he was an outstanding citizen he has lost what he values most and he decides that he will spend the rest of his time drinking, gambling and getting himself into as much debauchery as possible. Grace comes to him with a request. She wants him to help her find love. Lovingdon was always a close family friend and he watched Grace grow from a young girl to a young women. She realizes that he knew love and he would be the best guide for her. Lovingdon refuses Grace as first but he always had a soft spot for her or for his “Little Rose”. The more time they spend together the more they begin to care for each other as more than just friends. Lovingdon, however, knows that he will never love again. While at first Lovingdon viewed Grace as a child he quickly came to realize that she was a strong and fun loving women. Grace was an excellent card player and equally excellent with rum. Although he finds himself comparing her to his deceased wife Juliette, he can still appreciate Grace and her free-spirit.
Needless to say I loved this story. I loved how their friendship unfolded into a mature relationship. I have to say that even though I’ve read Lorrain Heath she still caught me by surprise! Grace carries a big secret, one that is haunting her and keeping her from completely confiding in Lovingdon. I really applaud the author for bringing to light this matter! Also, I shouldn’t be surprised but there was a twist and some adventure at the end! Of course Grace and Lovingdon end up together but their journey was so beautiful and sweet! Both these characters were good and sweet and very flawed! I think that is one of Heath’s gifts, her ability to present these characters that you fall in love with despite or because of their flaws. I highly recommend Heath in general but this book in particular. You will love Grace and Lovingdon and they will take you on a fun and exciting journey!