Genre: historical romance
The Duchess is doing it again! Matchmaking, that is.
Bestselling author Karen Hawkins charms with a delightful retelling of Beauty and the Beast - Scottish style.
Scarred in the terrible accident that took his wife, gruff Lord Kirk has hidden himself from Society. When he meets his neighbor, Dahlia Balfour - a young beauty who shares his love for poetry and books - he realizes she is the one woman who could make him forget the past. But how can such a recluse attract the eye of an enchantress? Kirk appeals to his godmother, the Duchess of Roxburghe, to help him become the dashing, well-dressed hero of Dahlia's dreams.
Arriving at a house party given by the Duchess, Dahlia is unprepared for the change in her neighbor. Suddenly, she is seeing him in a whole new light. When he captures her lips with an ardent kiss, she realizes he could be her romantic hero, but then a jealous rival twists an inadvertent comment she makes. Now Dahlia must persuade Kirk that she's not just a pretty girl feeling pity, but a passionate woman who sees past painful scars into the soul of the man she's come to love.
Alasdair Dunbar, Lord Kirk, married for love when he was very young. He lost his wife, Elspeth, in a boating accident, and he himself was crippled and scarred. He has been a recluse ever since. Until he met his neighbour, Miss Dahlia Balfour, when visiting the local bookshop. They became good friends over the months, but then he really bungled his marriage proposal to her, and she has shunned him ever since. And so he has come to his godmother, the Duchess of Roxburghe, to ask for her help. After all, she is well known for her matchmaking skills.
Margaret is only too happy to help him, but first he will have to learn how to be social again, and mingle with the ton. He needs to be dressed and he needs lessons on how to behave in company. Reluctantly he agrees to it all.
Dahlia Balfour is determined to marry for love. She wants romance in her life, and if she can’t have that, she won’t marry. She really liked spending time with Lord Kirk, discussing books and music and what not, but he has insulted her and her family so deeply, she wants nothing to do with him. But when her godmother, the Duchess of Roxburghe, throws them together at a houseparty she is giving for Dahlia, she can’t ignore him. It would not be polite. And he seems to have changed. He is even wearing modish clothes!
But the real Lord Kirk hasn’t changed at all. He doesn’t want to marry for love again, it is just messy and unnecessary. He wants Dahlia for his wife, as she is compatible and pleasant to be with. And that she believes in romance and love is just nonsense. So every time they draw closer, he puts his foot in his mouth, chasing her away. Until he devises a scheme to spend time together: kissing lessons for the both of them. Will she give in to his charms and passions that way?
When Dahlia overhears two other ladies at the party snub Lord Kirk, due to his scars and leg, she stands up for him, and challenges the ladies to a duel of battledore. But Lord Kirk is furious with her for doing this, now everyone is treating him like an invalid.
I think I am cured from my historical romance burn out, as I have recently read three historical romances and enjoyed them all.
It has been a while since I read a previous book in the series, but it took no time at all to be reminded of The Duchess of Roxburghe, her companion Lady Charlotte, her butler MacDougal and of course her 6 spoiled pugs, Randolph, Feenie, Meenie, Teenie, Weenie and Beenie. They are fun characters, and they do their best for their charges.
I totally understood Dahlia, thanks to her sisters’ good marriages, she did not have to marry for money, and she wanted to marry for love. And if Lord Kirk could not offer her that, not even a tiny bit of romance, she would not accept them. So he seduced her, she would not marry without love. It sure took some talking before Lord Kirk saw the errors of his way, that he really was in love with Dahlia, and that for just a bit of effort on his part, she could be his. He was selfish in his dislike of being in love. Dahlia was not like his first wife at all.
But I did admire him for believing in his valet, and trying to work on his lame leg, getting it more flexible, so he might someday dance with Dahlia.
I saw a bit of Elizabeth Bennett in Dahlia, her love for brisk walks, regardless of the weather, and her disinterest in her clothes while walking.
I do recommend Karen Hawkins, I enjoy her writing style, the flow of the story and of course the main characters she creates. They are all different, even if they are looking for love. The books are just fun to read and make me close the book with a smile on my face.
© 2014 Reviews by Aurian