Dear Ms. Linden,
Jane has already written a letter explaining the plot of your second book so I’m gonna just skip to my thoughts on it. Yeah, I love being lazy.
I loved watching the stuffy, ultra-in-control hero Marcus lose his cool and get his Ducal feathers ruffled. I enjoyed seeing him be charmed by heroine. BUT neither Hannah nor her child go overboard to do this. Thank you for not including the seemingly obligatory cutesy scenes of them being goofy which are meant to “charm” him and us. Blech- I hate those kind of scenes. I thought the “sexy bits” were well done and, huzzah!, we have a widow who enjoyed sex with her first husband and isn’t “awakened” to good luvin’ by the hero.
The whole plot set up is far fetched but I’m willing to go with it because of characters and the way it spins out is logical. I like that Marcus is aristocratic and overbearing….he’s a Duke for God’s sake when being a Duke really meant something. He’s not chummy with his servants because they’re the bloody servants and meant to serve him! And he’s not a secret spy!!! Yes, he was doing some investigative work but the way it was set up (to help David and keep the family name clean) makes sense and in the end, he’s not the one who really cracks the case. I do agree with Jane that the action sequences didn’t really fit the feel of the book up til that point and could have been left out.
I like how Hannah starts to get used to being a Duchess (ie with servants and beautiful clothes and a lovely home to live in) very quickly and gets over being uncomfortable giving orders. I also actually like how she goes postal on Lily , since after all Hannah’s child is in danger. But I can appreciate how Hannah’s personality causes her to have some compassion for how Lily was sucked into the plot but…maybe Hannah and Marcus went overboard in not handing out punishment.
I have to admit that I think Celia acted a bit goofy for a 17 year old of this era. After all, she’s nearly ready for her come out and is the daughter and sister of Dukes. I can’t help but think this kind of behavior would have been governessed out of her by that age. But I like Rosalind and loved to see how much she and Celia care that Marcus is happy at last. It was fun to watch them cleverly maneuver him into doing what they wanted.
My major niggle is the villain. He has reasons for his villainy and you did offer a few vague hints at his identity but he was kind of sprung on us at the end, IMO. And as I said, the whole denouement felt tacked on.
But considering that I’m still tired of Regency Historicals and would prefer almost any other setting for a historical book, the fact that I’m giving this a B is quite a good grade from me at this time.