A devilish duke and a missionary’s widow form an unlikely pair.
From the age of 8, Amarantha Vale knows exactly whom she’ll marry; unfortunately, at 17, she mistakenly thinks she’s found him. Her engagement to the young missionary carries her across the ocean to Jamaica; it also sends her careening into the decidedly nonmissionary Lt. Gabriel Hume in the middle of her first hurricane. After a short time, just as they admit their feelings for each other, Gabe is ordered to command a ship, causing Amarantha to marry the patronizing reverend. Years later, widowed, she reverses her journey across the Atlantic in search of Gabe, now the Duke of Loch Irvine, known throughout the Scottish highlands as the Devil’s Duke. Rumors abound about the possibly homicidal duke, but she doesn't believe them, and upon meeting again, the couple finds that they are both older, wiser, and still mad for each other. In a genre where love stories usually unfold over the course of a single season, this story, which begins with the couple's meeting in 1817 and ends happily in 1823, is unusually complex, and delightfully so. Ashe’s (Captive Bride, 2017, etc.) thorough research enlivens corners of the Regency era unseen by London society and creates many moments for both Gabe and Amarantha to engage in small individual efforts to combat the evils of slavery and misogyny. Not that their passion is neglected; the longer-than-average story allows ample time for the bedroom, and in great detail. Readers who enjoyed the first two titles in The Devil’s Duke series will be delighted to find that this entry is the best of the series so far—but new readers can jump right in.
This decidedly un-English Regency romance will win over historical fiction readers from all corners.