By Jennifer Haymore
Genre: Regency Historical Romance
With her pale hair and slim figure, Olivia Donovan looks as fragile as fine china, and has been treated as such by her sisters ever since a childhood bout with malaria. But beneath her delicate facade, Olivia guards a bold, independent spirit and the kind of passionate desires proper young ladies must never confess...
It was a reckless wager, and one Max couldn't resist: seduce the alluring Olivia or forfeit part of his fortune. Yet the wild, soon-to-be Duke never imagined he'd fall in love with this innocent beauty. Nor could he have guessed that a dangerously unpredictable rival would set out to destroy them both. Now, Max must beat a Madman at his own twisted game-or forever lose the only woman to have ever won his heart.
First Impression: A unique heroine and a dastardly villain stand out in this sweeping Regency romance.
What Really Worked: I was quite drawn in by Max and Olivia’s love story. Olivia was a rather unique heroine. She contracted malaria as a child, and she still suffers from terrible fevers because of the disease. She’s convinced that no man would want her as a wife due to her frail body and bouts of illness. Max, however, falls hard for her regardless.
The book starts out with a wager between Max and the unpleasant Marquis of Fenwicke. The bet is that Max will not be able to seduce the seemingly “frigid” Olivia. I was a little concerned, because this set up doesn’t exactly grab my attention. The bet is all but forgotten after a few chapters when thing get very interesting. I think what really spiced up this story was the simply dreadfuly villain, Fenwicke. I won’t reveal his dastardly deeds here. You must discover them for yourself and be as angry at him as I was!
What Worked: I really enjoyed the close, protective relationship the four Donovan sisters shared. The first book in this series was Serena Donovan’s story, though I have not read it yet. There were only a couple of times where I felt I was missing something by not having read the first book. Overall, the author did a great job presenting the sisters’ backstory.
What Didn’t Work So Much: I kept waiting for Max to turn into the bad boy he claimed was lurking beneath the surface, but it never happened. His greatest fear (and the reason he refused to marry) was that he’d become an abusive monster like his father, but I never saw any evidence of that. That’s not a bad thing. I just wasn’t convinced it was a reason for him to stay a bachelor.
Final Thoughts: Enjoyable! SECRETS OF AN ACCIDENTAL DUCHESS is a captivating read for fans of Regency romances.
Source: Free copy from the publisher