A bold woman known as the “duchess of Magnus” was wagered—and won—in a card game. But the woman who arrived was her shy, quiet cousin Eleanor.
Eleanor de Lacy must have been mad to agree to exchange identities with her stronger-willed cousin. She would never convince Remington Knight of the folly of this union—especially since the man seemed so determined for it to take place. Worse still, she finds Remington dazzlingly attractive—and she’s charmed by his attempts to seduce her, even though he believes she is already his. But if he ever learns of Eleanor’s deception, this daring rogue will wreak havoc . . . upon her reputation and her heart.
Remington had expected a haughty, unbending aristocrat who would ensure his entrance into good society. But this “duchess” is a most pleasant surprise—modest, warm-hearted, endearingly awkward, and a delight to the eye. In short, she is exactly the sort of bride Remington could fall passionately, completely in love with . . .
. . . if he weren’t so intent on his revenge.
Review: When I picked up this book, I didn’t realize that it was the second book in a two story series. While I can’t say that I was lost during the story, it definitely made a little more sense after I read book one.
While book one followed Madeline, the duchess, on her adventure, book two gives us Eleanor, her cousin’s story. The two ladies have been out of society for a couple years and look similar enough that they are able to switch places. In book one, Madeline goes to a house party as a companion in hopes of stopping her father for participating in a large card game. At the same time, she’s supposed to be on her way to London to meet her new finacee’ (one she acquired when her father gambled her away). She talks her cousin into going to London as the duchess until she takes care of her own business.
Eleanor is the highlight of this book for me. I like that she starts off a bit of a wallflower. She’s used to hiding behind her cousin in the part of a companion. She’s intelligent, but not the most confident or assertive person. However, as the story progresses she grows and gains that confidence and comes of of her shell. I just loved that growth. And I particularly like how she dealt with Remington, the fiancee’.
Then there is Remington. He’s not quite as likable. He does however, bring out the best in Eleanor, which was great to see. Remington is set on revenge and sees the duchess as the way to achieve his goals. What he wasn’t expecting was to really like or be attracted to his soon-to-be wife. I did enjoy watching the two of them circle each other and fall in love. The unmasking was a particularly favorite scene of mine.
The plot as a whole was a little hard to swallow. I mean, would a duchess *really* be able to switch places with someone? I kept waiting for the whole thing to fall apart. It did of course, but as the books are taking place simultaneously and in different parts of England, of course the fallout of one didn’t impact the other. Neither subplots were all that gripping to me either. I’ve already discussed book one in my review of Scandalous Again. But the revenge plot here didn’t really grab me like I’d hoped. Remington internally broods about it for most of the book and only after the “reveal” does it really take off and ultimately resolve itself. It was a little too anti-climatic and almost felt thrown together. However, I did still enjoy the book.
All in all, more than 10 years after originally publishing, this book is still a solid read.