Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Way to a Duke's Heart by Caroline Linden

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.


The Way to a Duke’s Heart is the final book in the The Truth About the Duke trilogy and a fun, charming story. Scandal, mystery, romance and blackmail make up this tale, and I enjoyed every minute of it! This is my first taste of Caroline Linden’s writing and a truly pleasant experience. The characters, their lives and circumstances, kept me invested and wanting to know more about them, especially the scandal surrounding Charles’ rightful – or not – claim to the Dukedom. 

And speaking of Charles, I found him to be clever, insightful, immensely charming, and most definitely sexy, too! But aside from all this, I think what I loved most about him were his insecurities and uncertainties because they made him an imperfect hero, one I wanted to bring home and love until he could see in himself the man that I saw in him! Charismatic, flawed, honorable and sexy... Charles is the kind of hero I love in my historical romance reads.

Tessa is a truly great heroine, one I felt connected to early on. Unconventional, independent, compassionate and loving, she might have been stubborn but she was never annoying – okay, maybe occasionally annoying, but nothing I couldn’t cope with! She felt deep love for her family, and shame for what she had put them through, and so she spent her life trying to prove herself and win back their respect. I loved this about her! She didn't whimper and whine about the things that had happened. There was no “Woe is me!” simpering. She knew what had to be done and then set about putting everything to rights, thus restoring her family’s faith in her! Though I have to say, I'm not entirely sure she had ever truly lost it.

In addition to the wonderful leading couple, there was an awesome supporting cast, but my favorite was Tessa’s clever, elderly companion, Eugenie, who stole the show a time or two.

Before closing, I want to reiterate - Although this is the third book of the trilogy, it really does work well as a standalone. Ms. Linden did a fabulous job giving us the back-story without it feeling forced or dictated. That said, I will most definitely be reading the prequel, I Love the Earl and the first two full length novels, One Night in London and Blame it on Bath, and look forward to reading more by this very talented author!

The bottom line: While there were areas the story lagged a bit, The way to a Duke's Heart is a brilliant work of twists and turns that never felt contrived or predictable. I’m very impressed that, although I hadn’t read the first two books, I never felt lost or as if I had missed something. The relationship and the romance built at a comfortable pace and I found myself cheering for Charles’ and Tessa’s happily ever after and when they reached it, knowing it was a love meant to be.

3.5/5 stars

My thanks to HarperCollins/Avon Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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