Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Review & Tour: The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean


Title: The Day of the Duchess
Author: Sarah MacLean
Genre/Age: Historical Romance/Adult
Series: Scandal and Scoundrel Series (Book Three)
Publisher: Avon Books
Format: ebook via Tasty Tours
Rating: ✺✺✺
LinksGoodreads
SynopsisThe one woman he will never forget…

Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only one problem—he already has one.

The one man she will never forgive…

After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow cannot resist.

A love that neither can deny…

The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their broken past, he can give her forever, making every day The Day of the Duchess.



Chapter 1
DESERTED DUKE DISAVOWED!
August 19, 1836
House of Lords, Parliament

She’d left him two years, seven months ago, exactly.

Malcolm Marcus Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven looked to the tiny wooden calendar wheels inlaid into the blotter on his desk in his private office above the House of Lords.

August the nineteenth, 1836. The last day of the parliamentary session, filled with pomp and idle. And lingering memory. He spun the wheel with the six embossed upon it. Five. Four. He took a deep breath.

Get out. He heard his own words, cold and angry with betrayal, echoing with quiet menace. Don’t ever return.

He touched the wheel again. August became July. May. March.

January the nineteenth, 1834. The day she left.

His fingers moved without thought, finding comfort in the familiar click of the wheels.

April the seventeenth, 1833.

The way I feel about you . . . Her words now—soft and full of temptation. I’ve never felt anything like this.

He hadn’t, either. As though light and breath and hope had flooded the room, filling all the dark spaces. Filling his lungs and heart. And all because of her.

Until he’d discovered the truth. The truth, which had mattered so much until it hadn’t mattered at all.

Where had she gone?

The clock in the corner of the room ticked and tocked, counting the seconds until Haven was due in his seat in the hallowed main chamber of the House of Lords, where men of higher purpose and passion had sat before him for generations. His fingers played the little calendar like a virtuoso, as though they’d done this dance a hundred times before. A thousand.

And they had.

March the first, 1833. The day they met.

So, they let simply anyone become a duke, do they? No deference. Teasing and charm and pure, unadulterated beauty.

If you think dukes are bad, imagine what they accept from duchesses?

That smile. As though she’d never met another man. As though she’d never wanted to. He’d been hers the moment he’d seen that smile. Before that. Imagine, indeed.

And then it had fallen apart. He’d lost everything, and then lost her. Or perhaps it had been the reverse. Or perhaps it was all the same.

Would there ever be a time when he stopped thinking of her? Ever a date that did not remind him of her? Of the time that had stretched like an eternity since she’d left?

Where had she gone?

The clock struck eleven, heavy chimes sounding in the room, echoed by a dozen others sounding down the long, oaken corridor beyond, summoning men of longstanding name to the duty that had been theirs before they drew breath.

Haven spun the calendar wheels with force, leaving them as they lay. November the thirty-seventh, 3842. A fine date—one on which he had absolutely no chance of thinking of her.

New York Times, Washington Post & USA Today bestseller Sarah MacLean is the author of historical romance novels that have been translated into more than twenty languages, and winner of back-to-back RITA Awards for best historical romance from the Romance Writers of America.

Sarah is a leading advocate for the romance genre, speaking widely on its place at the nexus of gender and cultural studies. She is the author of a monthly column celebrating the best of the genre for the Washington Post. Her work in support of romance and the women who read it earned her a place on Jezebel.com's Sheroes list of 2014 and led Entertainment Weekly to call her "gracefully furious." A graduate of Smith College & Harvard University, Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

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**Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book.**

Playing the part of a wife in order to get a divorce?

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When Seraphina returned to London, it wasn't to visit her home or family. Even the newly acquired tavern isn't the real reason for the trip. She traveled across the ocean in order to end her marriage. One that left her broken and caused her to flee to America several years before. She isn't that woman anymore and she's determined to finally gain her freedom.

Malcolm is stunned when the one woman he's been searching for shows up at Parliament. The problem is she isn't there to reconcile their differences. She's there for a divorce and doesn't seem open to the idea of anything else. Mal has to quickly find a reason to delay her before he winds up divorced and even more heartbroken.

His plan? Well, it's a crazy one. The only way he will agree to give Sera what she wants is if she agrees to find him a replacement wife. In desperation, it's the best he can come up with, but it gets Sera under his roof for the summer and that's progress. Unfortunately, he's also saddled with Sera's three sisters and a handful of women who think this matchmaking business is real. What has be gotten himself into?

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This book whipped my emotions around so much that I feel physically exhausted. That isn't even an exaggeration. I gasped. I teared up. I laughed out loud. I growled in anger. I huffed in frustration. My heart broke. My hope blossomed. I'm not sure which emotion I didn't have while reading this book. It was a wild ride, that's for sure.

The beginning left me with so many questions because we were thrust right into the middle of a scene with little set-up. I was confused as to where in the storyline we actually were. I can't lie, the first few chapters left me scratching my head a little bit. We jump around from the past to the present a lot in this book but more in the first half. Once I understood the timetable, I was better able to appreciate the story.

And wow, was this a story. I didn't love everything about it. The hot and cold relationship between our couple was super frustrating at times. But I'm apparently a fan of that because I loved this book. It was complex with many characters and clashing personalities. There were several sisters roaming around and then you add in the potential lady suitors. Whoa. That's a whole lot of women for one man to navigate through.

But Malcolm handled himself well, I think. I felt so terrible for him for pretty much this entire book. The lack of communication between our couple landed them both in a pretty sad situation with no easy solution. It was tough to root for Mal and Sera's relationship when I understood her reason for needing her freedom. My feelings were whipped back and forth.

Despite the fact that this story has such an intense sadness to it, there was still quite a bit of passion boiling beneath the surface. And the few times it boiled over? It was steamy. Our couple's chemistry was both addictive and obnoxious. I wanted more of it but I also wanted to slap sense into them both. It's amusing to see how everyone around them catches on to what is happening before the main character's really do. I was thoroughly entertained.

In closing... 
This is my first book by this author but it certainly won't be my last. Five suns!