Monday, June 24, 2019

Early Review of Project Duchess (Duke Dynasty #1) by Sabrina Jeffries

Title: Project Duchess (Duke Dynasty)
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Duke Dynasty (Book 1)
Format: Paperback; 400 pages
Publisher: Zebra (June 25, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1420148559
ISBN-13: 978-1420148558
Author's Website:
Notes: I received an eARC loan from the publisher for review purposes. This in no way affected my rating.

The Dowager Duchess of Armitage has just lost her third husband, and is dealing with the loss in the way she knows how, by focusing on a pet project as she works through the pain. Her current project is her niece, the Honorable Miss Beatrice Wolfe. At six and twenty many would say she's firmly on the shelf, but Beatrice's never had a season, and Her Grace is determined to give her one.

Beatrice Wolfe is not intimidated by privileged or entitled men. She's been surrounded by them her whole life. When she meets her aunt Lydia's eldest child, Fletcher Pryde, the 5th Duke of Greycourt (who is said to be richer than God and rumored to run a secret cabal of licentious bachelors) she gives as good as she gets. Not used to being put in his place, Grey finds himself both intrigued and amused by the young woman who can hold her own against him.

The Duke of Greycourt, 'Grey" to his friends, knew one day he'd marry but had decided long ago that love wouldn't enter into the equation of his marriage. He decided he'd marry a sensible woman who'd be content with having a wealthy dukedom at her disposal with no hopes or sentiment for any of that romantic nonsense some young women longed for. He had learned the hard way to guard his heart. When he meets Bea, however, his world starts to tilt on its once perpendicular axis. She he wasn't expecting.
This is the first book in a wonderful new series by one of my favorite authors, Sabrina Jeffries. The series centers around the Dowager Duchess of Armitage's family. She's been married to three Dukes and has given birth to five children, three of which are presently Dukes. Her most recent husband's death is suspicious. Her son, Sheridan, suspects foul play was involved. The main questions that come to mind are who did it and why? But another question that quickly surfaces is was Maurice's brother, uncle Armie, the Duke prior to Maurice taking the title, also a victim? Their deaths were mere months apart, and finding out that answer becomes all the more grave since Sheridan could be the murderer's next victim. Dun dun dunnnnnn... Oh, how I love the drama of it all. *smirk*

Bea and Grey meet at Maurice's funeral. On the surface, Bea and Grey seem very different, but once you scratch the surface, you'll start to notice some parallels. Their childhood back stories hold some similarities. Each was raised by an uncle who didn't have their best interest at heart. While Bea's parents died, Grey was separated from his family for years due to them living in Prussia and the war making travel difficult. Each had to grow up quickly and had no one to rely on but themselves. While Bea did have her brother, Joshua, he soon left for war leaving her to her own devices. He had had no clue as to what was happening or he'd have probably never have left. While Grey didn't have any siblings of his own living with him, he did have his cousin, Vanessa, who made life bearable. As it was her parents, however, who were the ones making his life difficult, he'd never confided the full extent of what they were doing.

I loved the attraction between Bea and Grey which was apparent from their first meeting. The chemistry between them was electrifying and lit up the pages making for a most enjoyable read. What made the romance so difficult was that Sheridan suspected Joshua, Bea's brother, might be the murderer. He is in the immediate line of succession for the family dukedom and that makes him a prime suspect. Sheridan puts Grey in the awkward position of investigating Joshua. Not exactly the kind of position one wants to be in when trying to win a woman over. Plus, if Joshua is the murderer that makes one wonder if Bea is somehow involved in the whole scheme, and with that the plot thickens.

I couldn't help but give this one 5 out of 5 roses. I loved the chemistry, drama, and underlying murder mystery that was nicely packaged in this delightful romance. The characters were fun and multifaceted in a way which makes you want to get to know them better. I loved watching Grey fall for Bea while Bea kept questioning his motives, but could never quite stop herself from falling for him as well. I have to admit, I'm thinking maybe the series name should have been 'All in the Family' as it seems that members of this very unique and diverse family seem to be falling for one another left and right. I absolutely loved the fun and complicated family structure Ms. Jeffries created. It's the only first in a series book I've ever read that truly needed a family tree attached, which the author graciously provided. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one earned a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. If you're looking for a book to keep you entertained, you may want to pick this one up.

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