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.A Duchess in Name by Amanda Weaver
Published by Carina Press on January 18th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Historical, General, Victorian
Purchase Links: Amazon | iBooks | Kobo | IndieBound
ADD TO GOODREADS:
Victoria Carson never expected love. An American heiress and graduate of Lady Grantham's finishing school, she's been groomed since birth to marry an English title—the grander the better. So when the man chosen for her, the forbidding Earl of Dunnley, seems to hate her on sight, she understands that it can't matter. Love can have no place in this arrangement.
Andrew Hargrave has little use for his title and even less for his cold, disinterested parents. Determined to make his own way, he's devoted to his life in Italy working as an archaeologist. Until the collapse of his family's fortune drags him back to England to a marriage he never wanted and a woman he doesn't care to know.
Wild attraction is an unwanted complication for them both, though it forms the most fragile of bonds. Their marriage of convenience isn't so intolerable after all—but it may not be enough when the deception that bound them is finally revealed.
Author Amanda Weaver does a wonderful job exploring English life at the close of nineteenth century and the unfortunate realities for heiresses with expectations to marry a man with a title, creating the remarkable heroine Victoria Carson in the process.
As the Victorian era ended, the English aristocracy faced the harsh realization that it could no longer thrive without large influxes of cash from outside the nobility. Brides with sufficiently large dowries were found among families of the nouveau riche industrialists and businessmen, including the daughters of American tycoons. The titular duchess in A Duchess in Name, Victoria Carson, is an example of a wealthy young woman raised to marry an aristocrat, whose family would do anything to see her succeed.
Victoria’s American tycoon father and her social climbing mother groomed her for marriage to a peer. Victoria always knew her eventual marriage would be made for monetary reasons, with love and affection playing no part. With this reality in mind, all Victoria dreamed of was a life away from her parents and a family of her own. She never imagined the attraction and passion that her new husband would stir in her. Nor did she envision the strength and fortitude she would possess as she struggled to create a home – without the assistance (or presence) of her husband.
Andrew Hargrave eschewed the trappings of his aristocratic upbringing, much preferring libraries and archeological digs to ballrooms and house parties. Andrew felt nothing but contempt for his neglectful mother and hateful father but his love for his younger sisters motivated him to cede to his father’s demands he marry the Carson heiress. Upon meeting Victoria, Andrew was immediately intrigued by her beauty and poise. A few quiet moments -and a very heated kiss- and Andrew’s reluctance to marry waned. Unfortunately, once Andrew discovered the depths the Carson family would sink to in order to procure a titled bridegroom, he took his anger out on his new bride. Andrew deposited Victoria at his family’s ramshackle estate and returned to his archeological research in Italy – not before surprising them both with their combustible chemistry in the marriage bed.
Victoria dealt with Andrew’s mercurial temperament and abandonment with grace and dignity. Her constant letters to her absent husband regarding her renovation of his ancestral home and the improvements to the lands demonstrated her commitment to forging a new life for herself. Through her dedication and hard work, (and despite his best intentions) Andrew learns to appreciate his wife and begins doubting his earlier judgment of her role in forcing their marriage.
To be honest, the conflict between Andrew and Victoria could have been resolved by one honest conversation. Andrew needed time and space to get over his resentment but his cruelty and anger toward Victoria was misplaced, and once he realized this, there wasn’t enough groveling for her forgiveness. His lack of commitment and immaturity made it difficult to warm up to his character. Although, once he returned to England, he became infinitely more likable. Victoria’s time alone on the estate, and her success in making improvements, gave her the opportunity for real growth and helped her realize her own worth was not measured by the size of her fortune. From the first line of the book, Victoria grabs the readers’ hearts, investing them in her happiness.
Excerpt from A Duchess in Name
Victoria concentrated on her breathing as she watched the girls disappear into the garden. When she was sure they were out of earshot, she glanced back at her husband again. He smiled at her. Smiled! A warm, casual smile, as if his appearing at Briarwood out of the blue when she hadn’t seen or spoken to him in six months was nothing at all out of the ordinary.
“What are you doing here?” she demanded.
She snorted and crossed her arms over her chest. “Indeed?”
“We weren’t expecting you.”
“I didn’t realize I’d need to wait on an invitation to be allowed to visit my own home.”
Victoria’s fury, already bubbling under the surface, burst into flame. “Well, you’ve spent quite a bit of time making it clear in no uncertain terms that this is no home of yours. Eventually I got used to the idea.”
He looked almost abashed. His every reaction was so far from what she’d come to expect from him, she was left feeling caught out. But she wasn’t ready to relinquish her anger, even if he refused to meet it with his own.
“Yes, I’m sorry I’ve been so uninvolved with the house.”
“Uninvolved? You’ve been entirely absent! I’m sure the neighbors all think I’ve made you up.”
“I’m sorry,” he said simply.
She stopped and blinked at him. “What?”
“I’m sorry.” He raised his hands and let them drop. “I should have been here. I should have helped you.”
“Oh.” He’d taken the heat right out of her fury, damn him. She floundered helplessly for a biting comeback but came up empty-handed. Where was the cold, heartless man she’d come to expect? Surely any second he’d snap at her and mock her for slaving away in the countryside to rebuild this house. Or he’d attempt to lure her back into bed just so he could unravel her and abandon her again. She’d been such a naive little fool where he was concerned. Well, she was no fool now. She finally had the measure of him and she’d be damned if he’d make a fool of her one more time.
About Author Amanda Weaver
Amanda has loved romance since she read that very first Kathleen E. Woodiwiss novel at fifteen. After a long detour into a career as a costume designer in theatre, she’s found her way back to romance, this time as a writer.
A native Floridian, Amanda transplanted to New York City many years ago and now considers Brooklyn home, along with her husband, daughter, two cats, and nowhere near enough space.