I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.What to Do with a Duke by Sally Mackenzie
Series: Spinster House #1
Published by ZEBRA BOOKS on August 25th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Romance, General, Historical, Regency
Purchase Links: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound
ADD TO GOODREADS:
Welcome to the charming, fatefully named village of Loves Bridge, where a woman destined for spinsterhood can live a life of her own choosing—or fall unexpectedly, madly in love…
Miss Isabelle Catherine Hutting would rather be lounging in the library than circling the ballroom in search of a husband any day. So when Cat hears that the town’s infamous Spinster House is open for a new resident, she jumps at the chance to put all this marriage business behind her. But first she must make arrangements with her prospective landlord, Marcus, the Duke of Hart—the most handsome man she’s ever seen, and the only man who’s ever impressed her in the least…
With her wit, independent spirit, and not least of all her beauty, Marcus can’t help but be stirred by Cat. It’s terribly unfortunate he’s not looking to marry, given the centuries-old curse that left his family with the Spinster House to begin with. No duke shall live to see his heir’s birth. But is there a chance the curse could be broken—in true fairy-tale fashion—by an act of true love? The race to Happily Ever After is about to begin…
What do you get when you cross a young woman sworn off marriage and a Duke for whom marriage could mean death, mixed with undeniable attraction and chemistry, a healthy douse of humor and a dash of magic? Answer: a thoroughly delightful book, What to Do with a Duke by Sally MacKenzie.
Marcus, Duke of Hart is a man for whom his wealth and position are a curse – literally. The craven actions of his ancestor two hundred years earlier have left a cloud over the dukedom. The maiden left pregnant and heartbroken by the third Duke cursed his descendants to die between the conception and death of their lawful heir. No Duke of Hart since 1617 has lived to see the birth of his son. This curse is made all the more painful for Marcus, as his loneliness and desire for a family begin to consume him. His resolute aversion to marriage is tested when his meets an woman who both challenges and intrigues him.
Catherine “Cat” Hutting has no desire for marriage or a family. As the eldest of ten children, Cat seeks only quiet and freedom to pursue her desire to become a novelist. Children and the responsibility of running a household hold appeal to her, until the Duke of Hart comes home to their little village of Loves Bridge. Two hundred years ago, as part of her curse, the spurned lover of the third Duke of Hart made arrangements for her cottage to be a made into home for a local spinster for the remainder of that woman’s life and then given to another spinster in perpetuity. The Spinster House, as it’s known, is the responsibility of the Duke of Hart, as is the selection of its inhabitant. When the Spinster House is vacated, Cat is eager to be selected to move in. Marcus is only too happy have the enchanting Cat labeled a Spinster and settled so he can leave Loves Bridge, and his growing affection for her, behind. But fortunately for the reader, Fate has other plans.
It’s hard not to ship Marcus and Cat from the moment they meet – Marcus’ flustered inner dialogue over his instant attraction to Cat is endearing. Used to women, quite literally, throwing themselves at him, he’s not cure what to make of independent and passionate Catherine, nor does she quite understand her reaction to Marcus. Author Sally MacKenzie beautifully handles the couple coming to terms with their individual fears and their desire for the other to achieve their future. Sometimes a leap of faith is the only answer.
What was already a well-crafted love story is elevated by the addition of a wonderful sense of place and time. The village of Loves Bridge and its inhabitants enhance the narrative, bringing color and depth to Cat and Marcus’ tale. No secondary character felt drab or one-dimensional and the sub-plots did nothing but strengthen the novel’s foundation.
What to Do with a Duke, the first book in author Sally MacKenzie’s new Spinster House series, is one of those books that left a smile on my face as soon as I finished – followed closely by a frown because, “Wait. It’s over? No!” was my next thought. Fortunately I have the second series installment, How to Manage a Marquess, to look forward to! Not to mention the prequel novella, In the Spinster’s Bed to download and devour. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to read…
About Author Sally MacKenzie:
USA Today bestselling author Sally MacKenzie writes funny, sexy romances set in her favorite time period (other than the present): Regency England. Her novella, “The Duchess of Love,” was a 2013 RITA® finalist, and two of her books—The Naked King and Bedding Lord Ned—made ALA Booklist’s top ten romances for their respective years. Many of her books are available in audio format, and her stories have been translated into Czech, French, Indonesian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.
Sally graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame in the first class of women. She’s a Cornell Law School dropout, former federal regulation writer, recovering parent volunteer, mother of four grown sons, and middle-of-the-lane Masters swimmer. She loves to travel, especially to England to research historic sites and hike through—and frequently get lost in—the English countryside.
A native of Washington, D. C., she lives with her husband in suburban Maryland, not far from her childhood home.
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