The Ugly Duckling Debutante by Rachel Van Dyken
Series: Renwick House (# 1)
Release Date: September 26, 2011 (Re-issued 2015)
Publisher: self pubished
Source: Book provided by the author for review
Since childhood Sara has lived with the reality of being ugly. Something her awful family never ceased to remind her. After her sisters run off to Gretna Green, she’s left with one choice—go to London and take their place for a Season. It’s up to her to marry well and save her family from financial ruin. A distant aunt decides it’s in her best interest to sponsor Sara for the season and help her snag a husband by any means possible.
Nicholas Devons, Earl of Renwick, is a retired rake and consequently bored with life. He’s given up beautiful women and carnal pleasures. Desperation makes him decide to give his massive fortune away and marry the first country girl he sees. Lucky for Sara she’s that girl. Unlucky for Nicholas, he’s to be her new tutor in the ways of the ton. Two waltzes, one masquerade, a violent carriage ride, and two duckless ponds later…. and all that’s left is a fun twist on one of the oldest stories ever told.
Review: I love stories about the odd one out and Sara fits the bill perfectly. She’s intelligent and witty and she prefers country life to dresses and balls. Thanks to her parents, she believes she is the ugliest girl that ever existed yet she is resigned to the fact that she will likely never marry and doesn’t seem disappointed by it, much preferring to read about love and romance (and loving families) in books. I love the way Sara parlays with Nicholas, teasing him and offering the witty comeback.
Nicholas doesn’t quite know how to deal with Sara. He’s given up being a rake and in order to win a bet he must get through one season without succumbing to a woman or being centered in a scandal. He tries to protect her from other rakes and less than worthy suitors but he fails miserably.
While Nicholas is supposed to be Sara’s tutor in the ways of the ton, other than a dance lesson he appears to be more of an escort. This becomes amusing as he struggles to acknowledge his feelings towards her and yet deny them to everyone else.
Since reading my first Rachel Van Dyken book I’ve become a fan. The writing is clear and does not get too muddled up in details I don’t need, yet she has a way of describing just enough of the past to keep me interested. I do wish the language evoked more of the historical time and I question the use of a couple of seemingly modern phrases, but as nothing was outrageous I can forgive and enjoy. For a simple, enjoyable historical romance, you can’t go wrong with The Ugly Ducking Debutante.