When I Met My Duchess by Caroline Linden

I enjoy Caroline Linden and have read many of her books, but I haven’t gotten to the point where I’d call her an autobuy author yet. I Met My Duchess was originally published as one of four overlapping novellas in the romance anthology At The Duke’s Wedding. Having read it as a standalone story, I can’t tell you about the quality of the other three, but I appreciate the cross-marketing the effort represents as it’s a great way to try new writers.

Gareth, Duke of Novellatitle has reached the age at which he feels he must marry to preserve his line. Having made a survey of the available and appropriate women, he has chosen Lady Helen Grey. When the story opens, his family is eagerly/anxiously waiting for the Lord Greys to arrive for a house party that will culminate in their nuptials. Having wooed almost entirely by the proxy of his cousin, James Blair, Gareth is briefly pleased when Helen arrives and is as lovely as he had remembered. The only trouble is that her sister has arrived with her and the moment she steps from the coach, Gareth is a goner.

Cleo Barrow is the widowed daughter of the Greys. She married for love against her parents wishes and the man she adored was in – brace yourself – trade. Despite the wealth her widowhood has brought, Cleo’s insistence her right to self-determination and – get your pearls ready for clutching – working has left her parents with a permanent case of the vapours. They might take Cleo’s money to support themselves, but their hypocrisy allows them to belittle and threaten her as though she is on the verge of shaming them further at all times. Cleo is a loyal sister and therefore puts up with a lot for Helen’s sake.

Thrown together constantly, Cleo and Gareth take to each other immediately and, if not for that pesky engagement and wedding contract, everything could proceed smoothly. Fear not, it’s a novella so Helen has other hopes that need not be dashed even as she tries to be what her family needs, and everyone gets their happy ending.

My favourite Linden book so far is One Night in London from the trilogy “The Truth About the Duke“. Reviews of Caroline Linden books I have gotten around to reviewing can be found here. Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

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