Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Entering her fourth Season and approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother’s old school friend, a duke–with no intention of ever sending these private thoughts to a man she’s heard stories about but never met. Meanwhile, she also finds herself intrigued by Marlow, her brother’s new valet, and although she may wish to break free of the strictures that bind her, falling in love with a servant is more of a rebellion than she planned.
When Marlow accidentally discovers and mails one of the letters to her unwitting confidant, Miranda is beyond mortified. And even more shocked when the duke returns her note with one of his own that initiates a courtship-by-mail. Insecurity about her lack of suitors shifts into confusion at her growing feelings for two men–one she’s never met but whose words deeply resonate with her heart, and one she has come to depend on but whose behavior is more and more suspicious. When it becomes apparent state secrets are at risk and Marlow is right in the thick of the conflict, one thing is certain: Miranda’s heart is far from all that’s at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.
If anyone ever found out that Miranda Hawthorne was writing letters to a man she had never met, it would be an incredible scandal. Of course, she would never dare to send them. They’re journal entries of a sort, written to a school friend of her brother’s. From the stories Griffith has told her of Marsh, she sees a kindred spirit and fellow rebel. She has always felt constricted by society’s, and her mother’s, high expectations of her. The letters are her way of silently rebelling. But what happens when one of those heartfelt outpourings gets sent?
When the mistake of her brother’s new valet lands a letter in the hands of the Duke, she is ready to die of embarassment. But when her letter is answered, the two start up a regular corresondence. With her intrests growing, not just with Marshington but also with her brother’s mysterious valet, the truth becomes harder to discern. Both about her feelings, and the men she cares about.
I think Hunter’s books have officially rekindled my love of regency novels. Miranda was a solid charater, but so immensely stubborn that she could be a bit irritating at times. The Duke and the Valet I really can’t go into detail over without touching on major spoiler territory.
I absolutely loved the friendly antics and rivalry of the Hawthorne siblings, but the real scene stealers were the servants. The Duke of Marshington’s servants were quite unlike most typical regency novels. This odd mishmash of unusual, irreverent, and hopelessly romantic characters make for plenty of hijinks as they determinedly fight to throw the Duke and Lady Miranda together, and they have no trouble telling him what an idiot he can be either. I just wish we had seen more of them in the sequels.
The suspense was well played out too, even though I did figure things out before the heroes did, though that is fairly normal for me. I totally recommend this one to anyone looking for a good, sweet and clean romance.
My Rating: Five Flames
Drinking/drugs: some wine injested, but no drunkenness.
Blood/violence: a fight and some shooting. No blood.
Happy Reading y’all!