One of the things I enjoy about Lorraine Heath is that she is so good at crafting characters I can care about. In this case, it’s the heroine, Minerva. She is quickly reaching spinster status, but not for lack of offers. She has received plenty of proposals. The problem is that men only want her for her dowry. No one has ever wanted her for herself. She’s never been touched… never even been kissed… and now she is ready to change that, by taking matters into her own hands.
Minerva snags entrance into the Nightingale Club, a place where ladies can don a mask and pick out a lover among society men. It’s there she catches the interest of the Duke of Ashebury, earning the distinction of becoming the only woman at the Club he has chosen more than once. It doesn’t take long for Ashe to figure out her identity, but they play a game of cat and mouse, as they fall for each other both in and out of the bedroom.
I love Minerva because she refuses to be anything other than herself. She has opinions. She thinks for herself and she speaks her mind. And she gets shredded for it. Of course, this messes with her head. She thinks no man would want her without her dowry. I believed her despair that no man would ever love her; that Ashe would reject her if he knew who she was. It really tugs on the heartstrings as she slowly allows herself to hope that something could be real between them… especially since we, as readers, know the Big Secret just waiting to come out.
As for Ashe, he is an ok hero, though not nearly as developed as Minerva. He lost his parents at a young age and was raised by a man who went mad over the death of his wife. So he has never wanted a love of his own. He’s hot and he has a problem with numbers. That’s about it. For me, it was more about how his feeling and actions impacted Minerva, since I found her to be the heart of the story.
I’m not really a fan of the Big Secret trope and the secret here is a fairly predictable one, given the set-up. But I still enjoyed the book overall, thanks to the heroine and my feelings toward her.
This is the first in a new series from Heath, but it’s tied in with characters we met in the Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James books. The heroine here is half sister to Lovington, the hero in When the Duke Was Wicked. You don’t have to be familiar with that series to enjoy this one, but it’s a nice little bonus for those of us who are fans of Heath’s other work.
I’ll definitely continue on with this series… but why do I get the feeling that Edward’s twin is going to die, leaving him primed for a romance with his sister in law? Am I crazy? Only time will tell.
*ARC provided by Avon
Click to purchase: Amazon
Falling Into Bed With a Duke
by Lorraine Heath
Release Date: October 27, 2015