The Duke of Kingston has crossed the pond to wed a wealthy heiress, a quest complicated when he meets a talented, ambitious seamstress he mistakes for a potential wife.
On the way to a fitting with an heiress at a Fifth Avenue hotel, seamstress Adeline Black literally runs into the Duke of Kingston in the lobby. The duke has come to America to find a rich wife and immediately been deemed the most eligible bachelor in New York. Adeline reads the papers and realizes that the handsome Englishman is the celebrated duke, and while they shared an instant attraction and a brief flirtation, he is completely out of her league. Kingston, meanwhile, misinterprets the fact that she’s in the hotel to mean she’s from the upper class. When he pursues her, he inadvertently gets her fired, which is at first devastating but ultimately leads her back to the heiress client who, along with a group of forward-thinking society women, backs her in establishing her own dressmaker’s shop, rewarding Adeline's talent, vision, and courage to express her dreams. Her designs quickly become the talk of the town, as does the duke’s interest, though they both know he must marry wealth. The relationship remains platonic but still tarnishes her reputation, since society considers her a threat and her former employer is resentful of her success. Just as Kingston resolves to marry the woman he loves, thanks in huge part to Adeline’s penchant for challenging his worldview, Adeline’s integrity and devotion to the women who now work for her may jeopardize their chance for happiness. In the end, Adeline’s originally weary reproach of “Change the world, Duke” becomes both an aspiration and a rallying cry for the remarkable couple.
Rodale’s Gilded Age–set series launch is a smart, bright love story that perfectly balances messages of female empowerment and social potential with romantic tensions created by class and gender dichotomies ripe for revolution.