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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Duke's Dilemma by Rachel McNeely

The Duke's Dilemma by Rachel McNeely
Publisher: Siren-Bookstrand
Genre: Regency Historical
Length: Full (243 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

After losing her fiancé in a war, Helena Steeples vowed never to wed. But when her twin, Mary Ann, refuses Duke Nicholas' proposal, Helena finds herself attracted to him.

Nicholas knows Helena, the shy twin, does not meet his initial criteria for a wife, but she fascinates him. With both families' support, the duke pursues Helena and she signs a contractual agreement to marry him.

Two days before their wedding, her former fiancé, believed dead, returns, postponing the nuptials. Helena notices changes in her former beau, while the duke suspects he's the traitor they've long hunted.

Helena finds herself in the middle of an attempted murder, treason, and a former fiancé who wants to hold her to their earlier obligation. He knows Helena's secret and can destroy her reputation and ruin her wedding plans to Nicholas.

Once the secrets are revealed, will Helena marry the duke or her former fiancé?

Well educated in the rules of Regency England’s high society, the twins Helena and Mary Ann are not too concerned about breaking these rules if they get in the way of what these two young women want.

Quiet, talented, capable, and reliable Helena plans to never marry but gets entangled in the finagling of two powerful families when Mary Ann rejects the Duke’s offer of marriage.

The Duke of Monteray (Nicholas Reginald Selwyn) tells himself he will be master of his home and his destiny with love not entering in—does he get some surprises! A prominent Member of Parliament and commander of a powerful spy operation, he is quite sure he can manage one little young lady. Man, oh, man, did he have his work cut out for him. Helena and Mary Ann do create a dilemma for the somewhat arrogant Duke.

Rachel McNeely creates a tale of political and social intrigue as well as one that makes the heart sing as romance and love override the pettiness of family and society. The author disappears and leaves the reader right in the middle of the adventures, social events, and love scenes. The characters vibrate with emotions that touch all the reader’s senses. The dangers are spellbinding and the love scene breathtaking.

THE DUKE’S DILEMMA has strong characters. Helena and Mary Ann function in a society where women have few rights but these young women are rarely deterred by the limitations. The antagonists, so entrenched in the Duke’s world, go to great lengths in an effort to reach their goals. They endanger Helena and Mary Ann in spite of all the Duke’s efforts to protect them.

The adventures of these strong, independent young women that live life to the fullest make THE DUKE’S DILEMMA a Regency tale to keep. Of course, the Duke is one delectable hero to dream about. Ah!