Fanciful Reader

a book blog about romance and more. . .

One Night in London: The Truth about the Duke by Caroline Linden

One Night in London: The Truth About the Duke
by Caroline Linden
Publication date: August 30th, 2011
Harper Collins/Avon

I’ve wanted to read a book by Caroline Linden for a long time and even have a couple of titles from her Regency spy series in my TBR pile. That’s why I was glad via Netgalley and Avon/Harper Collins to have the chance to read an advanced copy of One Night in London: The Truth About the Duke.

Based on the author’s previous titles, I was expecting another romantic adventure, but instead this book focuses on a custody battle and a disputed inheritance. Plots about inheritance are about my least favorite in historical romance, though they’re among the most common. Still, I found this an enjoyable read.

Lady Francesca Gordon is trying to get custody of her young niece, Georgina, believing that her stepmother is keeping her only for the benefit of the girl’s allowance. After a long search, Francesca finds a solicitor, Wittiers, who is willing to take her case. The moment that the Wittiers agrees, he’s called away on a more urgent case. Francesca discovers that Edward de Lacey, the second son of the late Duke of Durham, has secured the services of the Wittiers.

She then decides to use her influence with a newspaper publisher who has printed a scandalous bit of news that puts the inheritance of the Duke of Durham’s sons in question to persuade Edward to find her another solicitor. Edward agrees, and naturally, he and Francesca find themselves drawn to one another. It’s sort of a “tolerate” to “love” progression.

I really liked the Francesca as a heroine. She was headstrong without being overly feisty. Also though it’s mentioned that her forthrightness is due to her Italian heritage, this stereotype is not carried out to such an extent as in other books (such as Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart). I also thought the ending played out well, especially the subplots about Francesca’s would-be lover Lord Alconbury and her niece Georgina (the latter was especially heartwarming). Plus, unlike many historical romances the hero and heroine barely hold hands for the first half of the book. The “slow burn” progression made the book really stand out in my mind.

The inheritance plot is not really resolved and I assume it will continue in two more books about the remaining two brothers. While I’m not sure that I’ll read the rest of the series, I’m looking forward to I Love the Earl, a novella-length prequel to the One Night in London series. I’ve heard that it’s set in the less-common Georgian period which fascinates me.