THE DUCHESS HUNT by Jennifer Haymore

duchessPUB. INFO: Forever, 6/2013
GENRE: Historical Romance
SETTING: England, 1812
SERIES: House of Trent, book 1

From Publisher: Simon Hawkins, duke of Trent, is no stranger to scandal. Rumors and innuendo have darkened the House of Trent for decades, and it has fallen to Simon to restore his tattered family name. He lives by a strict code of honor, but when he is called home to investigate his mother's disappearance, the distinguished duke will tangle with temptation. For there waits the only woman he has ever loved-and the last woman he should desire . . .

Sarah Osborne has spent her life dreaming of Simon's touch. But dukes do not long for lady's maids-or so Sarah believes, until a stolen kiss sparks a passion that could be her ultimate undoing. As the couple begins a forbidden romance, a cunning enemy plots to destroy the duke and everything he loves. Now, caught in a blackmailer's web, Simon faces an agonizing choice: sacrifice his family's future or break Sarah's heart.

MY THOUGHTS: I liked this better than I thought I would. I think the twenty page prologue was too long and a bit silly but I understand the author's intent. Sarah, who's about twenty-four and has black hair, blue eyes, and Simon, twenty-nine, who has light brown hair and green eyes, have always been attracted to each other but they're from two different worlds so nothing ever came of their attraction. Her status as housemaid at the family home, Ironwood Park, gets upgraded to lady's companion to his younger sister, Esme, who's nineteen.

I feel for Sarah because she's in love with a man she can't have, or so she thinks, because he's obligated to marry someone from his realm. After they begin a sexual relationship with each other, they fall in love but he's being blackmailed into marrying someone and has to end their affair. But don't worry, Sarah and Simon have their happily ever after.

Halfway into the story it got real interesting for me when some upsetting revelations came about regarding the paternity of Simon's close family members. Also a major event happens with Sarah, a consequence that was bound to happen, and some character named Robert was brought in to help deal with that part of the storyline. I didn't like the addition of his character.

I was real disappointed that Simon's mother's disappearance wasn't resolved but it continues into the next in the series, The Rogue's Proposal, out in November.

Overall I really liked this, more so during the second half after their relationship ended and I'm dying to know what happened to his mother.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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