An earl’s wife kidnaps and seduces a duke, only to fall in love with him.
In London 1796, a veiled woman approaches Lucien Brandford IV, the Duke of Carlsborough, and tells him that his former lover Lady Catherine has been injured. Concerned, the Duke boards a coach expecting to find the Lady, but once inside he is bound and drugged, then taken to an undisclosed location where he is shackled, blindfolded, to a four-poster bed. His captor, “Madame Dictator,” is lovely Lucinda Davenport, the young wife of elderly Lord Joshua Davenport, Earl of Compton, whose age and frailty have rendered him incapable of procreation. To ensure the family line, Lucinda has chosen vigorous and vital Lucien from a handful of candidates as the man to implant her with his seed—if only he will comply. Initially, the Duke refuses, demands his freedom and threatens to have his abductors captured and hanged. Although sexually naive, Lucinda is not easily put off. Under her spell, the duke becomes not merely compliant but a willing and inventive partner of remarkable stamina who delivers the goods again and again. Over the course of a few days at the Earl’s country estate, Lucien and Lucinda fall in love, and she finds fulfillment as a woman. Their romantic, sexual idyll is short-lived, however; Lucien has served his purpose. Both Lucien and Lucinda are appealing, if not particularly bright, characters, and certainly pleasant enough to accompany for a few rounds of bodice ripping. Their over-the-top sexploits are at times unintentionally humorous: “her body was exploding with yet another torrential organism.” The emotional connection between the lovers is believable, but the plot is simplistic, if not implausible. Surely, there are strapping country lads aplenty who could do the deed for a pittance. Why kidnap a duke and risk the gallows? But let us not quibble. In turbulent times, a bit of light-hearted fare is the coin of the realm.
A lusty, lightweight romp.