by Celeste Bradley

March 2008
ISBN: 0-312-93968-X
Reviewer Graphic Button St. Martin`s Press
Mass Market Paperback

Three heiresses, each charged with marrying a duke, are the main characters of Celeste Bradley’s new series. It sounds pretty straightforward, but is in fact very convoluted. The terms of inheritance are clear. The one who marries a duke will get the money, with a pittance to the losers. However, no one can reveal the terms of the will, nor discuss the inheritance during courtship. The young women must win the gentleman with their beauty, wit and charm alone.

Into this mad scheme come three cousins. Phoebe, a vicar’s daughter who hopes never to repeat her childhood indiscretion; Deidre, a stunning beauty who longs to escape her conniving stepmother; and Sophie, a bookish young woman who has no fashion sense or social graces. The task seems impossible to attain.

In the first book, Desperately Seeking a Duke, Phoebe actually lands a titled gentleman, and is well on her way to becoming a duchess. Unfortunately, he is not the man that Phoebe really wants. Will she follow her head or her heart?

This first book was charming. The author had some explaining to do to set the stage, and it was not overdone. Each character begins to reveal themselves slowly over the course of the novel, and yet holds back enough information to intrigue the reader. I am looking forward to the remaining books, being released back-to-back. I appreciate the publisher’s consideration in doing so, since connected books often lose their appeal if too much time passes between novels.

Reviewed in February 2008 by Paula.

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