Miss Bannerman and the Duke by Fenella J. Miller
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Length: Short Story (129 pgs)
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Snapdragon
The Duke is proud and Miss Bannerman prejudiced--can they reconcile their differences?
Rose Bannerman is willing to save her family from ruin. Her twin, Millie, is far too sensitive to marry for convenience, so Rose must do so.
She has loved Perry, the Duke of Bentley, since the schoolroom, but he would never consider her for his bride.
When they become reacquainted, Rose finds the Duke arrogant and Perry considers her pert. He believes Millie is a more suitable match.
Rose takes Millie's place on a carriage ride and pretends to kiss him. Her intention is to embarrass him; she doesn't realize her impulsive action will compromise them both.
Perry is obliged to offer for her, an arrangement neither party is happy with.
Can Miss Bannerman and the Duke put aside their differences and make this arrangement work?
The Bentley diamonds – ostentatious in themselves and altogether a symbolic display of the unsuitability of the match unassuming young Rosamonda Bannerman has made – glitter with the promise of a future she is quite sure she isn’t equal too. She’s the mousey one, after all.
Perry, an acquaintance from eons past, is actually a duke – a handsome, wealthy duke; older, in need of heirs and most definitely not meant for her. And his ego is nothing to sneeze at either, although maybe he does mean well. He’d be a more likely catch for one of the other girls in this annual marriage-making season, perhaps even her divinely beautiful sister Millie.
He might just need taking down a peg, and Rose impulsively steps in for a moment -- it's really only a bit of a joke -- and the next thing you know, it's not Millie who is spoken for, but herself. Oh, this is a twist no reader expects and we find ourselves in a tangle of conflicting emotions immediately!
Yet, Rose has made her mistake and somehow things carry on from there. We have to doubt how far all this will go, the potential disaster to personal reputations and the impact on family. Miss Bannerman’s plight becomes an enjoyable, and at times anxiety-ridden, saga that readers will not want to put down.
There are subtle funny moments, the odd hint of irony, and – well we might just as well admit it – occasional admiration for Perry, who at one moment might be both a stuffed shirt and a bit vulnerable. Characters are simply well, well-done.
The backdrop is all it should be: the time, the place, the dress and, most deliciously, the ball.
Fenella Miller’s Miss Bannerman and the Duke is intriguing from the start, heart-tugging at regular intervals, and enormously enjoyable from one moment to the next. Miller’s style is delightfully unobtrusive and I cannot remember when I have enjoyed a romance more. Put this one right at the top of your list.