The Infamous Duchess by Sophie Barnes

The Infamous Duchess by Sophie Barnes
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Historical
Length: Full length (384 Pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Dryas

A woman with a shocking past…

Branded a money-hungry con artist for marrying the elderly Duke of Tremaine days before his death, Viola Cartwright has found refuge in her work at St. Agatha’s Hospital. No one must know the painful reason behind her marriage. She steers clear of attachments—until Henry Lowell, heir to the Viscount Armswell, lands on her operating table after a duel. Charming and wickedly handsome, Lowell is one of London’s most inveterate scoundrels. Yet he may not be all that he appears.
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And the man who can promise a future filled with love…

Posing as an unrepentant rake has helped Lowell avoid women pursuing him only for his title. But now that duty has finally called on him to marry, he finds himself entranced by the mysterious, independent-minded Viola. Then her late husband’s son returns from overseas, contesting Viola’s inheritance. Lowell longs to help her and sets out to convince Viola that a strategic union may be the best way to save all she holds dear. But can he also persuade her to take a chance on love…?

A wonderful, well paced plot. You are immersed into the world of hackneys and coaches, women in long dresses and men in top coats. Viola is such a strong character: sweet, yet full of determination and stubbornness. She is very wary of the attention Henry is paying her, it reminds her too much of Robert. Henry, an incredibly strong character that is full of self-confidence and a great deal of stubbornness, which is good as it will take everything, he has to woo her to his arms.

There is one great scene when Henry starts to woo her. He sends her a huge bucket of all sorts of flowers and herbs, sending it to the hospital and saying it was for the hospital. He knew that would be the only way she would take them. He is careful with every touch of truth she gives him. For example, she had to admit to him that she could not read without her glasses and she was mortified if anyone caught her wearing them. So, he had a waiter discretely bring him a pair and hid her face. All these small touches start to wear her down until he finally breaks through her walls. I enjoyed the interaction between the two; every single one pulls their relationship further along and I think the scene that finally show Viola that she can trust him is when they went to a beach alone except for her dog Rex.

I loved the fact that Henry marries her, first because he loves her but also, he knows that with his family connections the case with Robert may go better. Robert is a very twisted man, known for his violence and only wants to hurt Viola. I wanted to slap him with the comments he made. But I do enjoy what happens to him afterwards.

A wonderful historical romance with such vivid characters and scenery that you feel like you are another one of the characters friends and are going through the same things. Once you start it will be hard to put down.

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