Lady Vivian Defies a Duke by Samantha Grace

Lady Vivian Defies a Duke by Samantha Grace
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (344 pages)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

The Naked Truth

Lady Vivian Worth knows perfectly well how to behave like a lady. But observing proper manners when there’s no one around to impress is just silly. Why shouldn’t she strip down to her chemise for a swim? When her betrothed arrives to finally meet her, Vivi will act every inch the lady—demure, polite, compliant. Everything her brother has promised the man. But until then, she’s going to enjoy her freedom…

A Revealing Discovery

Luke Forest, the newly named Duke of Foxhaven, wants nothing to do with his inheritance—or the bride that comes with it. He wants adventure and excitement, like the enchanting water nymph he’s just stumbled across. When he discovers the skinny-dipping minx is his intended, he reconsiders his plan to find Lady Vivian another husband. Because the idea of this vivacious woman in the arms of another man might be enough to drive him insane—or to the altar.

Vivian’s innocent compassion set her up as an object of gossip and possible ruin before she was really old enough to realize she had done something that Regency rules deemed taboo. She tells herself she will act just the way she should and not cause her brother anymore grief, but her delightful, high-spirited ways keep her life teetering on the edge of social disaster most of the time.

She was only a child when she was betrothed, but is determined to be the perfect lady when her intended, the duke, comes. The threat of the village gossip, Mrs. Honeywell and her brother’s threat of sending her to a nunnery loom, but her curiosity and exuberance for life keep her in trouble most of the time.

Lucas (Luke) Forest, the Twelfth Duke of Foxhaven, does not want the responsibilities of a duke nor does he want the young woman his father betrothed him to years ago. However, her brother insists the agreement be honored. He writes that his nineteen-year-old sister is obedient, docile and domesticated. Luke gets a jolt when he learns his affianced swims like a water sprite in only her chemise, rides horseback astride, skips stones on water, shots a pistol quite well, is inclined to act before she thinks, and freely expresses opinions that seem to “sprout up like dandelions”.

Luke’s near-fatal accident in his youth changed his world. He is shamed by some of his disabilities but knows he should not have dumped ducal responsibilities on his brother Richard like he did. How he sets things to right after he takes Vivian to his mother’s house party at Irvine Castle reveals much about his character. Even more revealing is his emotional struggle when his plan to help Vivian find a husband so he will not have to marry her. This proves to be an insurmountable problem for him—nobody is good enough for her.

As the secondary characters grow in number so do Vivian’s problems. What she wants with all her heart is Luke but her compassion makes her consider the shame she would bring to his family should her ‘indiscretion’ ever come to light.

Samanatha Grace keeps the reader turning pages as she creates near-disasters with Vivian’s actions. She adds to the tension with characters like Mr. Collier that is a villain of the first order. Also, Johanna Truax, a cousin of Luke’s mother, adds an undercurrent of treachery that makes the reader want to shout ‘watch out’ to Luke and Vivian.

Ms. Grace uses an uncomplicated plot and slips in the sense of love in Luke’s family that is unconditional along with side stories about Luke’s brother Andrew and his adorable family; of Vivian’s Cousin Patrice and Vicar Ramsey; her brother Ash and his harridan of a wife Muriel. She also works in tidbits of Vivian and Luke’s past. Best of all she lets the reader share poignant moments, humorous moments, scary moments, and breathtaking lovemaking moments with Vivian and Luke.

Lady Vivian Defies a Duke has just the right ingredients blended together to give a marvelous vicarious experience that makes the reader gives a happy sigh that love wins again. Most enjoyable reading!

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