Meriel Shelby is forced to work as a governess to earn her living. Despite the fact that she was born into a family with money, her father passed away leaving her, her sisters and her mother, destitute. After losing her first position as a governess due to the jealousy of her former employer's wife, she managed to find another position as governess to Stephen, the small son of the Duke of Thanet.
Shortly after she begins to work at Thanet Court, the Duke comes back. It surprises her as he essentially ignored his son and spent most of the year in London. The man that she meets seems somewhat different than the man that hired her.
Richard O’Neill is having doubts that he will be able to keep this masquerade of impersonating his brother Cecil, the real Duke of Thanet, for long. However, young Stephen’s safety is at stake and he knows that he has to keep the ruse no matter the cost.
The Duke in Disguise is the first book I have ever read by Gayle Callen, so I really did not know what to expect. What I found was a nicely written historical romance set in Victorian England, with engaging and appealing characters, and an engrossing plot that kept my attention from the first page to the very last. There is nothing that I love more in a romance than an intelligent heroine with a wonderful hero that fully deserves her. After having the misfortune of reading some books lately in which over-stubborn heroines and purportedly Alpha heroes (that ended up coming across as complete and utter jerks) were the norm, The Duke in Disguise was a quite refreshing and welcome change. Although this book is definitely a historical romance, it has some nice touches of mystery/suspense that had me turning the pages eagerly. The story’s pace is very good and all the elements in the story meshed well together. The characters are nicely written and both appealed to me as a reader. The Duke in Disguise is part of a trilogy named The Sisters of Willow Pond, and to my delight, the third and last title in the series is due out next month. Now time to catch up … and patiently wait for the last installment.