“Trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear” is how Genevieve feels when she inherits a neglected duchy and becomes Duchess of Blakesley.
She is the neglected daughter of a wastrel duke. She has been raised by servants. She’s had no training in how to be a duchess much less in how to tend to the business of the duchy that has been shamefully neglected. However, because of a special dispensation granted generations earlier, the direct heir, regardless of gender, inherits the duchy of Blakesley.
Though neglected by her father, she has a grandmother who has confidence in Genevieve, and she also has a godmother who sends her own steward to help Genevieve maneuver through the quagmire of the ton and the business of owning and managing of the duchy.
The steward, retired army captain Archibald Salisbury, estranged third son of a viscount, is not all that happy about having to go where his family might see him, but he arrives in London to do the task Genevieve’s godmother sent him to do.
Straight away, he sees a strategy is needed. His army training kicks in. He sees Genevieve as a raw recruit with no ammunition–she has no suitable wardrobe; she does not know how to be haughty, act grandiose, or give terse orders to the servants; she has no clue about how to do duchy business, last, but not least, she draws him like a magnet. She’s beautiful, sensible, kind, honest, direct, sensitive, resilient, and has a delightful sense of humor. Consequently, even though they are in the same house, he communicates with her by letter if possible rather than be in her company—great way for the author to move the story along.
He guides her through all the social and business hazards of mid-nineteenth century England. She learns well, but her faux pas in her personal relationship with him throws a spanner in the works that creates a conflict that sends him running. Now she’s very capable, titled, wealthy, but so alone—calls herself an idiot.
How Megan Frampton weaves a love story throughout the story and how she resolves the conflicts to give Archie and Genevieve their happy-ever-after is a work of art. Good reading!
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