Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Duke's Blackmailed Bride by Leigh D'Ansey

Vanessa Fitzwilliam is in dire straits. Her father’s death a year ago left her with a crumbling manor and a handful of old retainers relying on her for support. When the Duke of Northbridge sweeps into her life with a surprise proposal, Vanessa is tempted—but the arrogant duke believes her to be something she’s not.

Hardened by the ravages of war, Northbridge seeks a wife who will provide him with an heir but make no demands on his emotions. The scandalously experienced Vanessa, neither clinging nor innocent, seems the perfect choice. But Northbridge isn’t prepared for her reluctance to accept him, or his own fierce reaction to her beauty.

To fulfill his desires, Northbridge is prepared to be ruthless, but can he bend Vanessa to his will? Or has the Duke met his match?

Reviewer: BlackTulip
I was rather unsure about this book because it is a very short story. But at the end I had no doubts anymore, I liked it a lot.

Vanessa Fitzwilliam was used to a carefree life, never really thinking about the consequences of her actions. She was often impetuous which is not something a young lady should show the world.

After the sudden death of her father she finds herself in an impossible predicament. She needs to marry if she doesn't want to lose her home, but she will not accept just anyone. So she is left with a decaying manor, a few remaining servants and no money!

From the very first moment Vanessa and the Duke of Northbridge meet, you are able to feel a very palpable tension building. When I think about them, I can see two fencers crossing swords.

Vanessa is a very lively and headstrong young woman but she's not callous, she knows that she has responsibilities towards the few loyal servants that remain with her. The Duke is an aloof man, never showing any kind of emotion and years of war have left him rather grim. But he is a man with a plan - and he believes there are things worth fighting for. But first Miss Vanessa Fitzwilliam will have to accept his very straightforward and unemotional proposal of marriage. After years of practice they both keep their feelings and thoughts to themselves in order to protect their hearts but it only makes their lives more difficult.

Towards the end of the story we learn that they have a past together. It happened when they were children, they secretly met one time. This distant memory remained forever with him and it kept him alive and strong enough to be able to come back from the war. In my opinion this is the one thing that makes the story credible. Otherwise, it wouldn't have worked.

It was a good read. I give it 4/5.

See the original review on goodreads


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