Jumping into the Middle - Reading List

Jumping into the Middle

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Reluctant Duchess

Roseanna White

Books series are all over the place right now.  Trilogies seem to rule the publishing world.  If you want to get a real publishing contract, it appears you need to be able to show the publisher you have a solid trilogy first.

To be honest, that makes sense.  Why would a publisher want to invest all that time and money on an author who is only giving them one book, when there is a chance for three, or more!

As a reader, though, it's hard to want to pick up a book knowing I will have to invest the time of three books... or to pick up a series halfway through.  Or if a book title or cover calls to me, just to find out that it isn't the first in the series, well that is always a bummer.  Especially when that realization only comes after reading a chapter or two...  Have you been there?

The Reluctant Duchess a Book Review on Reading List

Story Overview 

The Reluctant Duchess is the second book in Roseanna White's Ladies of the Manor series.  In this 1912 romance, Lady Rowena Kinnaird finds her life completely different than she had ever dreamed while a young child. As the heiress to a Highland Earldom, she is faced with a marriage that will secure the land and strengthen the clans.  However, the man in question is not a gentleman and robs Rowena of all her dreams completely.  

When Brice Myerston, the Duke of Nottingham, takes a season in the Highlands, he finds himself faced with the awful truth of Rowena, and a message from God to help her.  He, being a true gentleman and godly man, steps in to rescue Rowena, even if the circumstances are questionable, at best. As this unlikely pair learn to navigate life together, stepping into love and societal roles, their lives take twists that add some adventure the story.

As the second book in the series, the issue of the cursed jewels run throughout this book as well and bring along many of the characters of the Lost Heiress.

Personal Likes

I was very impressed with how White wove Rowena's story of recovery.  She is assaulted in many fashions early in the story, even before the book begins, and is physically and mentally injured.  The first half of the book, Rowena fully struggles to find her worth, her strength, her stride again.   Yet she moves forward, even when she would rather hide.  Her mental story and reflection is a huge part of what I feel make her such a great characters.  While I read some reviews that were not as glowing on this aspect, I truly feel it was a story that needed to be told, even though it would be hard for some to read - hard subjects are important to tackle in fiction, for those who have never experienced it, and for those who are looking to heal.

Brice is a wonderful character - so sure of his path with God.  This is the kind of man a woman could truly fall for - this is the kind of man mothers dream of for their daughters.  Sure he has flaws, and he has times when he makes wrong choices, but he always looks to God for direction and strength, then he listens.  In fact, all of the characters in this book are well developed and complex, even those characters that sit along the periphery the entire time.  I guess that is always the bonus of series, right?  Time to truly develop characters...

The Reluctant Duchess a book review on Reading List

Personal Dislikes

There were a few times when scene changes were choppy.  With so many characters and storylines interweaving it was hard to always keep up when the scene changed.  This could have been partly because I did not read the first book in the series, but still I had to reread too many transition paragraphs to keep up with the story.

Another very minor issue I had was with the Scottish/Highland/Lowland burr.  While I do not fault the author at all for this decision to write in it, as it fits the characters, it was just hard to decipher meaning, and slowed down the book, especially at the beginning.  I would have really appreciated a little glossary of some of the terms, especially since there is a great character list included.

Reading List Rating

Four heart rating on Reading List

I am going with a four heart rating on this one.  It was very enjoyable.  There were times when I had to keep reading just a few more pages to see what transpired next. However, I do not think I will read this one again... and I probably won't go back to read book one either.

My Suggested Audience

I would suggest an adult audience for this one, mostly because I think that is White's target audience - adult women, who are fans of Downton Abbey (and other such shows/books). While this is a clean romance, especially by today's standards, the subject matter is mature.  Teens could certainly read this and understand, so I wouldn't deny them the book, but maybe this would be a good one to read with your teen to discuss the subjects at hand.  Such subjects include physical abuse from family, sexual abuse/rape, depression, PTSD, arranged marriage, societal laws & expectations, mythology, ghosts, spirits, curses.  As well as quite a bit of discussion of marital relations, all as part of a married couple learning to navigate torrid pasts that are invading their present (again this is well done, but can be hard to handle for some.)

The Reluctant Duchess a Book Review on Reading List

Wondering Questions to Consider

Should marriage always be for love? How should a man and wife move forward when the worse happens to one of them?  How do you love someone who is completely scarred from a horrible act of another?  

...love, like faith, couldn't be based on feelings. #TheReluctantDuchess @Reading_List1

How often are you to pick up a book that is the middle of a series, even if you haven't read the first? Would you give it a try if a friend recommended it?  Would you have to read the first book then go to the rest of the series? 

I'd love to hear from you, please leave me a little note!

Marissa @ Reading List

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***If you're interested in writing a book review on Reading List, please message me on the Facebook page! If you're curious about a book, ask me...  I love to hear from you! If you would like your book reviewed on Reading List, email me, the link is at the bottom of this page.

**** Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, BethanyHouse. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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