Review: The Duke's Wayward Ward by Claudia Stone

Print Length: 168 pages
Publisher: Claudia Stone (September 24, 2018)

From  When Lady Emma Percival's father dies, leaving her penniless and alone, she fears that she will end up on the streets. Help is at hand, albeit from an unlikely source, when it transpires that her father has appointed his greatest enemy to be her guardian. The Duke of Liscarroll is a cold-hearted brute whom Emma spars with at every turn, but soon their angry altercations turn to something else entirely...

Peter William Brazil, Sixth Duke of Liscarroll, finds himself strong-armed by his mother into accepting Lady Emma as his ward. Though he is loath to have anything to do with the Percival family, he does want to get his hands on the priceless manuscript the late Earl bequeathed him in his will, on condition that he finds Lady Emma a suitable husband. Peter fully intends to have Lady Emma married off and out of his house within a fortnight, but there's something about the fiery, young lady that sparks his interest and soon he's not sure that he wants to let her go at all.

When someone attempts to shoot him and the ton label Emma as the prime suspect, Peter knows that he must clear her name before he makes her his bride. The only problem is, there's more than one person with reason to want him dead, and his bride-to-be is less than enamoured with the idea of becoming his...

Can these two warring enemies find the culprit and a happily ever after?


My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

I've read quite a few books by this author now, and I have to say that this one definitely wasn't one of my favorites. While I enjoyed the banter between these two, I never really bought into them having romantic feelings for one another. In fact, they seemed to go from one extreme to the other very quickly. This was helped by the fact that Peter declares in the middle of White's that he is betrothed to Emma without even discussing the fact with her prior - in fact by this point in the book they were still "enemies". I also had trouble with the fact that he seemed to just blurt it out for no reason. Yes, there was some suspicion about her having tried to kill him, but obviously once the real culprit was caught, she would have been fine. He then makes things worse by actually snooping through her things due to a whispered word in his ear from his former mistress. 

And the poor cat! What an unnecessary death. The author could have chosen to have the animal become sick, or even had an unsuspecting servant eat the food and fall ill (I like animals more than most people, what can I say)?  

I also had a bit of trouble believing the ease in which Emma's rescue came about. How fortunate that the Dowager Duchess decided to stay in her carriage across the street to give Emma and Peter some "privacy".  Things like that just weren't done, engaged couple or not. And as much as I loved the Dowager Duchess? I really wished she would stop calling her grown 30-something year old son sweet-pea. I would also have liked to have seen Peter come riding to Emma's rescue to make their reuniting more sweeter than what it was. 

Even with these things, I'm sure others will enjoy this story more than I did. Plus it's a sweet romance with only a handful of kisses (if that) being mentioned which I know appeals to some readers. I will continue reading more from this author! 

                                                      The Duke's Wayward Ward  is available from
                                                                      (for free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited)

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