The handsome but incognito Richard Hawlester, Duke of Roderick, weary of toad-eating house guests, engages in a serious flirtation with young Elisabeth Barrows, who is primed for an exciting adventure. Mistaking the fat squire for the duke, she holds her secret relationship with a man known only as Richard, Nobel Rescuer, close to a tender heart while discovering love for the first time.
Elisabeth’s trust seems irrevocably lost when the duke’s actual identity is revealed. Realizing his mistake, Roderick begins an earnest, dangerous, and often hilarious campaign to convince her of his love. Elisabeth ponders whether true love can overcome the loss of trust between two people, even as danger presents in the guise of a vile, undesirable suitor, while a wicked assassin makes an attempt on the life of the duke. Trust broken can never be regained, or can it?
Love without trust makes the heart cry.
The joy of life seen in Elisabeth Barrows at the beginning of the story brings a smile. She bubbles with mischief and adventure.
Two years later she is far more circumspect. She vows never again will she be taken in by a smiling stranger. But her heart still loves her Richard. However, her Richard isn’t just Richard. He is the Duke of Roderick, and he did not tell her who he was or that he was leaving. He just left.
Wiser and supportive of her proper sister Sophia, who also had her heart crushed at the same house party two years ago, Elisabeth goes by the rules.
They, like most of the rest of the elite in the Regency Age, work hard to entertain themselves, to maintain their standing in a gossipy society, preen, and position themselves in the best place possible to acquire a suitable mate – hard, tedious work at times.
The Duke of Roderick and Captain Mark Estermire return home after a two year stint of doing government business for the reigning regent. They find the two women who haunted their dreams for the last two years are busy with their friends doing the socially proper activities: Almacks, riding in the park to see and be seen, attending the proper social affairs, and offering only cool politeness to them.
They need strategy, much like a battle plan, to get back into the good graces of the ladies they love. Mark has better luck than the Duke does. Elisabeth can’t bring herself to forgive “The Duke.” She longs for her Richard. The conflicts abound plus a villain enters the fray in the person of Viscount Teasdale.
I enjoyed the story, though it is predictable and loses momentum at times with the same activities taking place. However, there are some truly humorous, entertaining incidents. I must admit, I’ve never read about betting on a caterpillar.
The many secondary characters are around. For the most part, they just help set the scene for important events that propel the main characters along to their goals.
Tutored by a Duke gives the reader a vicarious adventure into the Regency Age with lots of details about the uniqueness of that age being woven in.