Saturday, January 16, 2016

Review: A Duchess in Name by Amanda Weaver

A Duchess in Name by Amanda Weaver
Series: The Grantham Girls, Book 1
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN: 9781459290617
Release Date: January 18, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Victoria Carson never expected love. An American heiress and graduate of Lady Grantham's finishing school, she's been groomed since birth to marry an English title—the grander the better. So when the man chosen for her, the forbidding Earl of Dunnley, seems to hate her on sight, she understands that it can't matter. Love can have no place in this arrangement.

Andrew Hargrave has little use for his title and even less for his cold, disinterested parents. Determined to make his own way, he's devoted to his life in Italy working as an archaeologist. Until the collapse of his family's fortune drags him back to England to a marriage he never wanted and a woman he doesn't care to know.

Wild attraction is an unwanted complication for them both, though it forms the most fragile of bonds. Their marriage of convenience isn't so intolerable after all—but it may not be enough when the deception that bound them is finally revealed.

A marriage of convenience becomes something much more in A Duchess in Name. Amanda Weaver kicks off her Grantham Girls series with this compelling, emotional tale featuring a fantastic heroine and a hero who has to become the man she deserves.

I absolutely adored Victoria. She’s been raised to do her duty and allow her parents to use their wealth to capture her a husband with a title they covet. Victoria is accepting of her destiny, but that doesn’t mean she’s spineless. When her parents’ conniving throws the Earl of Dunnley practically in her lap, Victoria is surprised that fate has done her a favor. Andrew is kind, attractive, and there’s a spark between them that makes her hope for more than the life she has planned out. But when her new husband abandons her, leaving her to fend for herself in his tumbledown ancestral home, Victoria doesn’t fall to pieces in the face of a shattered new dream and a mess of a house. Rather, she picks herself up and uses her wits and fortune to make a home. She isn’t perfect, but she also isn’t afraid to ask for help when she’s in over her head. Quite simply, Victoria is a wonderful heroine who is resourceful, kind, and generous. She’s so deserving of the happily ever after she never thinks she’ll get that you don’t want to put the book down until the fairytale is hers.

Andrew is where A Duchess in Name hits a snag for me. He’s an archeologist who lives outside society and would be content never to return to England if his parents weren’t putting his sisters’ futures in jeopardy. Being forced to wed a stranger upsets him, which is logical, but it’s clear that he and Victoria are hitting it off when they first meet. When he learns the truth of what brought them together, however, he acts poorly, blaming Victoria when he has little reason to. Andrew is a flat-out terrible husband for most of the story, and it went on for so long that it left a sour taste in my mouth. When he does come to his senses, I don’t blame Victoria for having had enough. Ms. Weaver did show goodness in Andrew, and because of this I was willing to watch him work to be the hero Victoria deserved. Still, there is so much discord between Andrew and Victoria that I wish a bit more time had been spent on the happily ever after part of the story to smooth those rough edges.

Even with my reservations about the story, I cannot deny that I was completely drawn in by Ms. Weaver’s writing. She has a talent for making characters come alive and that made A Duchess in Name impossible to put down. I finished the book wishing Victoria’s fellow Grantham Girls, along with Lady Grantham herself, already had stories out because I was so intrigued by them. So while there were perhaps a bit too many ups and downs to Victoria and Andrew’s romance, I still cannot wait to read the next Grantham Girls book, A Common Scandal.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.