“Pleasure Is On Her Dance Card” – Determined to find a husband, Miss Eleanor “Ellie” Bowman attends a ball put on by the Duchess of Greycliffe, fondly referred to as the Duchess of Love. But she roundly dismisses the suitors the matchmaking hostess has invited on her behalf. For it’s the duchess’ dashing son Ned, Lord Edward, who long ago captured Nell’s heart – and roused her desire. All it takes is a pair of conveniently misplaced silky red bloomers to set the handsome widower’s gaze on this unusual girl who is clearly more than meets the eye…After more than a year of mourning, Ned longs to finally start anew. At first glance, the birthday ball his mother has thrown in his honour is decidedly lacking in suitable mistresses. But he senses something unexpectedly alluring beneath the veil of Nell’s plain exterior – something she’s anxious to reveal, and the lonely Lord is incapable of denying…
Review: As a longtime fan of Ms MacKenzie’s “Naked Nobility” series, when I saw she was starting a new series, I was curious what “hook” she was going to come up with. This new series is called “The Duchess of Love” and is centering around the matchmaking of the Duchess of Greycliffe (who has the very unfortunate name of Venus Valentine). In this first book, she’s working her magic on her second son, Edward “Ned” Valentine and their neighbor, the vicar’s daughter, Ellie.
Now Ned has been grieving the loss of his wife in childbirth, but has come to the realization that it’s time for him to get married again, and perhaps have those heirs. So he comes to his mother’s house party knowing that she’s going to get setting him up with one of the guests. And on the other hand we have Ellie, who has loved Ned forever. They were childhood friends and she was his wife’s best friend. And she realizes that Ned will never love her and since she wants to have children, she’s decided to allow the duchess to find her a husband. But can she stop comparing her new suitors to Ned?
I really enjoyed this story. I was drawn in from page one and couldn’t wait to see how the love story was going to unfold. The entire story takes place at this house party over the course of about a week. There were at times too many characters to try to keep up with. I mean there’s all of Ned’s family (2 brothers and his parents), Ned and Ellie each have couple suitors, then there’s the requisite bad guy, plus a few more characters for background and to fill out the party atmosphere.
But the one character that really stood out to me was actually the cat, Reggie. He was a little mischievous creature who seemed to be trying to bring Ned and Ellie together. The cat’s antics, and the characters reactions to them, kept a smile on my face and anxiously awaiting to see what would happen next.
What can I say? I laughed, I cried and I enjoyed every minute I spent with Bedding Lord Ned. Ms MacKenzie has written an entertaining tale where I cared about the characters and really was rooting for them to overcome all their obstacles to get to their happily ever after. I can’t wait for the next book in the series to come out so that I can see who The Duchess of Love will work her magic on next. But wait, there is an ebook prequel available, called quite appropriately The Duchess of Love, that tells the duchess’s own love story. Guess what’s up next on my to-read list?