I had high hopes for this book, but found myself disappointed in the hero and disbelieving in the romance. The premise is great: Fiona has told her family that she has a fiancé because she was too shy and nervous during her Season and never wanted to do it again. She’s waiting for her grandmother to die before revealing the embarrassing truth. But, while out digging for Roman ruins, she kind of sort of accidentally holds up a carriage with a handsome Duke inside. She may as well recruit/force him to portray her imaginary fiancé, right?
I feel the need to point out that Fiona has red hair and hates mushrooms, just like me! I had no idea that redheads were so scorned in British society:
“Red-headed women with freckles were never destined to possess elegance.”
“‘How do you think my hair turned so red?’ ‘Blood!’ Graeme gasped. ‘I always knew redheads weren’t trustworthy.’”
“Kisses were things girls with glossier hair and freckle-free complexions whispered about. They didn’t apply to Fiona.”
Anyway, moving on from my personal issues, Percival is the new-to-the-title Duke. He’s returned from the war missing a leg, and now his aunt wants him to marry his dead cousin’s fiancee, because pedigree, and also he’d never find a better woman what with his wooden leg and all.
Percival is a spineless jellyfish, okay? When Fiona kidnaps him, he worries about being late to meet his aunt. Then, even when he realizes that Fiona might be a nice girl in need of help, he still tries to escape instead of summoning up his noble blood and doing the right thing. THEN, even when he realizes that Fiona’s uncle is a louse of the highest degree, he STILL doesn’t want to stick around to serve some righteous in-your-face Dukeness. (I don’t know what that would look like, I just know that it would be awesome and that Percival did not do it.)
This book is written with a light touch, as you can tell from the red hair quotes above. Fiona’s horrible uncle is hilariously obtuse while putting down Fiona. “I must divulge the poor character of my niece. I cannot wait. My conscience will not permit it!” And every time Percival tells people that Fiona kidnapped him, they just nod and smile, all, “Love feels that way, doesn’t it?”
At the end of their three-day adventure (and I think two of those days were Percival thinking escape thoughts and not caring about Fiona), Percival goes back to his life and his aunt and his possible fiancee. Fiona is sad, and pissed, and her reputation is ruined. But she pulls herself up and plans an awesome future for herself as a spinster, and it’s seriously like, go, Fiona! You don’t need a man or a castle, you do you! Of course Percival has thoughts and realizations and returns because this is a romance and he’s supposed to, but I think Fiona would have been better off without him.
*ARC provided for review
Click to purchase: Amazon
How to Capture a Duke
by Bianca Blythe
Release Date: January 28, 2016