Have you read the one about the lady of little fortune and less-than-illustrious lineage who married the dashing duke?
It’s a common theme in historical romance novels set in the Regency era, and one of my personal favorites. Alas, through no fault of her own, the average woman was more likely to be run over by a carriage while crossing Oxford Street than to marry a handsome, young duke.
I’m no mathematician, but by my calculations there were approximately thirty dukes in Great Britain at the turn of the nineteenth century. Subtract the royal princes who could not marry without The Mad King’s consent, along with those already married or still in the nursery, and London’s marriage-minded misses had this motley assortment to choose from:
The Duke of Dorset was out of the nursery, though only just barely, when he passed away unmarried at the age of 22 in 1815.
The Duke of Bedford was available for bringing up to scratch, but only during the narrow window of opportunity from 1801 to 1803 when he was between wives.
The Duke of Devonshire was known as the Bachelor Duke for good reason as he managed to avoid marriage entirely.
The Duke of Marlborough became eligible (depending upon one’s notion of eligible) when he was widowed at 68.
The Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry was ripe for the picking when he was widowed at 42.
The Duke of Argyll is my favorite I think. He inherited the dukedom in 1806 when only 38, and was snatched off the market four years later.
The Duke of Roxburghe was clearly some woman’s idea of the perfect husband, seeing as he was widowed at 71 and remarried at 72.
The Duke of Newcastle was available only until 1807 when he married at 22.
My newest release features the granddaughter of a duke, though you’d never guess it by the company she keeps or the neighborhood she calls home.
What happens when London’s longest-reigning rake decides to make mischief?
Born of scandal and raised in squalor, Miss Harry O’Connell turned her back on her feckless, frivolous father and carved out a life for herself in the working-class neighborhood of Wellclose Square. She’s a creature of habit, a stickler for schedules, a keeper of secrets, and a woman adamantly opposed to wasting so much a single minute – let alone a spare shilling – on useless endeavors, sentimental nonsense or impossible expectations.
With three men standing between Phineas Griffith and the nearest title, he was perfectly content to float through life on a wave of mistakes, mishaps, coincidences and luck. Two unfortunate accidents and an apoplectic fit later, the new Viscount Knighton finds himself saddled with a decimated estate, a mountain of debt and two sisters in need of launching into Society in tandem. There’s really nothing for it but to woo and wed an heiress post haste.
An unwelcome visit from the Earl of Dunaway sets in motion a convoluted chain of events that put Harry on a collision course with the handsome fortune-hunter. And wreak havoc with her meticulously managed, precisely timed and exactingly organized life.
Phineas cannot afford the luxury of falling in love with a prickly, pragmatic and penniless woman. Harry hasn’t the time or inclination to dally with a charming rake when all her considerable talents are aimed at laying waste to all the Earl of Dunaway holds dear.
And chaos ensues.
Some forces are greater than gravity and some risks worth taking. Can these two star crossed lovers find the wherewithal to risk it all for a happily-ever-after that defies all odds?
January’s Corset is a lovely cream paisley print, just the sort of surprisingly sweet bit of fluff Miss Harry O’Connell would hide beneath her outrageous gowns.