Review: The Reluctant Duchess by Sharon Cullen

Print Length: 128 pages
Publisher: Loveswept (November 10, 2015)

From Perfect for fans of Mary Balogh and Eloisa James, Sharon Cullen’s seductive new historical romance ignites as a shy country girl and a hotheaded duke surrender to dangerous temptations.

Lady Sara Emerson was jolted out of her dull provincial life by her cousin’s murder. Now that the killer seems to be targeting her, Sara seeks help from the man who was once her cousin’s fiancé, Gabriel Ferguson, Duke of Rossmoyne. With his towering frame and fiery personality, Ross cuts an intimidating figure. Living under his protection, however, has its own hazards—like the sudden urge Sara feels to take their relationship in new, exquisitely inappropriate directions.

Dazzled by the social graces of his betrothed, Ross never noticed her shy, blushing cousin. Looking at Sara now, though, he’s drawn to her lovely eyes and calm disposition. Funny how a year away from the hustle and bustle of the ton changes a man. But Ross has no intention of allowing a woman to interfere with his plan to return overseas. He will simply capture the murderer and set sail once again. The problem is, with her beguiling lips and heavenly touch, Sara makes him never want to leave home—or his bed—again.

My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This novel was a perfect blend of a regency romance and a suspenseful "whodunit". In fact, one of the things I thoroughly enjoyed about this story is that neither aspect of it overshadowed the other. The characters were not only engaging and obviously well thought out, but the fact that their romance bloomed slowly over the course of the story earned major points with me. I enjoy a story where the romance itself takes time to build and unfold rather than happen all of the sudden. 

One of the underlying messages of this story (that I picked up on at least)  is that of growth. While engaged to Meredith, Ross was a completely different person with different priorities, so to see him reflecting upon that while also trying shelter Sara from having to try and overcome her social aversions, while at the same time showing and helping her to overcome them was a welcome change from most novels of the same ilk.  

I also thoroughly enjoyed this author's writing style. She has a gift with words that allows the reader to fully see and experience what the characters are going through. I won't go into too many details as I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but I will say that when they go into the less than desirable parts of society, I could totally picture their change in dress and demeanor.
All things considered, I would definitely recommend this novel (and author) to fans of a well thought out regency romance! 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.
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