Review: The Way to a Duke's Heart by Caroline Linden.
Rowena's review of The Way to a Duke's Heart (The Truth about a Duke #3) by Caroline Linden.
Hero: Lady Tessa Neville
Heroine: Charles de Lacey
Charles de Lacey, Lord Gresham, is running out of time, running from his responsibilities, and running from love.
Destined to be a duke, Charles de Lacey has led a life of decadent pleasure, free of any care for propriety or responsibility. It comes as a terrible shock to learn that he might be stripped of everything, thanks to his father's scandalous past. He has no choice but to find the blackmailer who would ruin him—and his only link to the villain is a woman who may be part of the plot…
To save his fortune and title, he vows he'll stop at nothing—in fact, he's all too eager to unravel the beautiful, tart-tongued Tessa Neville. She intrigues him and tempts him like no other lady ever has. With only his heart to guide him, and keenly aware that his entire future is at stake, Charles must decide: is she the woman of his dreams, or an enemy in disguise?
I haven't read too many books by Caroline Linden but I should really fix that. I really enjoyed this book and it looks like there are some books that came before this one so I'll definitely be reading those.
This book follows Charlie de Lacey, the estranged heir to the Duke of Durham. When his father dies and his secrets are unraveled, Charlie's title is at risk. It is one thing for the secret to have been buried with his father but Charlie and his brothers find out that their father was being blackmailed and in order to keep the title in the family, they have to find the blackmailer and put an end to the blackmail. Charlie's two brothers Edward and Gerard have been on the case since they found out but because Charlie (who is the actual heir) was estranged from his father, he didn't find out about anything until now. Both Edward and Gerard have their own families to take care of so the job of finding the blackmailer falls back onto Charlie's shoulders.
Charlie follows the clues that Gerard left for him to Bath, where he meets the lovely Lady Tessa Neville. Tessa is an odd woman. She's a widow with a secret, a secret that will bring the life that she's built for herself crumbling all around her. She's got a good head on her shoulders and a good head for numbers so her brother uses her to research potential investments and then report back to him on her findings. She's in Bath trying to investigate a canal that her brother is interested in investing in when she comes across the Earl of Gresham. Immediately, she's not a fan because everyone dropped her and her chaperone like a ton of bricks the minute he came into the building and flocked to him, in an effort to please him. She immediately thinks that he's an entitled and indolent aristocrat and says as much.
Charlie finds out that the key to getting him close to the blackmailer is through Tessa Neville and he jumps at the chance to do so. He charms his way into his life and the more they get to know each other, the more they like each other. I really enjoyed the romance that blossomed between the two main characters because it was sweet. They really did come to know each other quite well and I adored each scene with the both of them in it.
Tessa was strong and smart and just the kind of person that I could see myself being friends with. She was also funny and I loved the way that she treated those around her, even when she was wrong. She knew her own mind and she went after the information that she sought with a single-minded determination that was admirable. I really enjoyed getting to know her and thought Charlie was the perfect match for her.
As for Charlie, there was a lot more to him than meets the eye and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him. Seeing why he left home, why he was estranged from his father and seeing him come back with regrets and what not, made for a great read and I ate it all up. I loved Charlie. I thought he was dashing and charming and I wanted to marry him myself. The way that he fell in love with Tessa for who she was and not what she looked like or what she could bring to him and his estate was too adorable for words.
The mystery behind who the blackmailer was didn't really do much for me but it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the romance between Charlie and Tessa. It wasn't hard to figure out who the blackmailer was and I'm terrible at figuring those things out. I was a bit bummed that this book came to a close because I was enjoying the characters so much that I didn't want the story to end. I totally recommend this book to lovers of the author's previous work and to fans of historical romance. This was a good one.
Grade: 4.5 out of 5
This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.