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Dukes Prefer Blondes

Dukes Prefer Blondes

4.6 14
by Loretta Chase

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Biweekly marriage proposals from men who can't see beyond her (admittedly breathtaking) looks are starting to get on Lady Clara Fairfax's nerves. Desperate to be something more than ornamental, she escapes to her favorite charity. When a child is in trouble, she turns to tall, dark, and annoying barrister Oliver Radford.

Though he's unexpectedly found himself in


Biweekly marriage proposals from men who can't see beyond her (admittedly breathtaking) looks are starting to get on Lady Clara Fairfax's nerves. Desperate to be something more than ornamental, she escapes to her favorite charity. When a child is in trouble, she turns to tall, dark, and annoying barrister Oliver Radford.

Though he's unexpectedly found himself in line to inherit a dukedom, Radford's never been part of fashionable society, and the blonde beauty, though not entirely bereft of brains, isn't part of his plans. But Clara overwhelms even his infallible logic, and when wedlock looms, all he can do is try not to lose his head over her . . .

It's an inconvenient marriage by ordinary standards, but these two are far from ordinary. Can the ton's most adored heiress and London's most difficult bachelor fall victim to their own unruly desires?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 10/12/2015
Chase’s fourth entry in the Dressmakers Series (after Vixen in Velvet) is a scintillating and sensual read. Thirteen years after Oliver “Raven” Radford and Lady Clara scuffled with Raven’s cousin Bernard, Lady Clara and Raven are reunited at his London law office. Clara wants to find Toby, a pauper boy. Raven knows this involves infiltrating the dangerous street gang run by the notorious Jacob Freame (who already has a vendetta against Raven), but he realizes that he faces an even greater peril—that of falling in love with the beautiful, blond Clara. What ensues is a blend of action and suspense set amid Clara and Raven’s witty banter and increasing sexual tension, as they scheme against shady characters and navigate their growing love for each other. In addition to the powerful social commentary on women’s role in society and the life of youth in London’s poverty-ridden back alleys and schools, Chase’s tongue-in-cheek tone captures tender and humorous nuances in character descriptions and actions, creating fully realized characters and a rich plot. Agent: Nancy Yost, Nancy Yost Literary Agency. (Dec.)
Booklist (starred review) for DUKES PREFER BLONDES
RITA Award-winning Chase...deftly stitches together superbly nuanced characters, a captivating plot that realistically deals with both the glitter and grime of the Regency era, and a graceful writing style fueled by a resplendent sense of wit to create a romance to cherish.
Romantic Times
“Queen of love and laughter Chase returns with a laugh-out-loud novel destined for the keeper shelf. There’s hardly time to breathe between giggles and guffaws...The result is perfection.”
Romantic Times BOOKclub
As always, Chase crafts an intelligent, witty, sexy romance with two well-matched characters ... The tinge of mystery that thrusts the storyline forward - along with the sharp repartee, laugh-out-loud humor and steamy sexual tension - make this a stand-out read.
Booklist (starred review) on Don't Tempt Me
“Two refreshingly original, superbly matched characters clash with splendidly sexy results in the always inventive Chase’s latest deliciously witty and satisfying romance.”
Romantic Times TOP PICK
Quinn of love and laughter Chase returns with a laugh-out-loud novel destined for the keeper shelf. There’s hardly time to breathe between giggles and guffaws as a delightful cast of characters romp through the countryside to an ancient Scottish castle inhabited by ghosts. The result is perfection.
Booklist on Don't Tempt Me
“Two refreshingly original, superbly matched characters clash with splendidly sexy results in the always inventive Chase’s latest deliciously witty and satisfying romance.”
All About Romance praise for DUKES PREFER BLONDES
“One of the best writers in the genre...This is romance as it should be: a lush tale that is really about much more than love - it’s about womanhood, social issues and happiness.”
NYT bestselling author Sarah MacLean in the Washington Post
“...a lingering, sensual romance set against a rich backdrop of pre-Victorian London in all its glamour and grime. This is romance as it should be: a lush tale that is really about much more than love - it’s about womanhood, social issues and happiness.”
Library Journal
★ 12/01/2015
While Lady Clara Fairfax was raised to be a duchess, that's the last thing the intelligent, well-read, and stunningly beautiful young woman wants to be. Stifled by both her sex and her station, she yearns for adventure and to make a difference. When the opportunity to help lands in her lap, she embraces it with both hands—and ends up embracing nobly born barrister Oliver Radford as well. With action that flows from the crime-filled London rookeries to the glittering upper-class ballrooms, this cleverly plotted, vividly descriptive historical evokes the flavor of pre-Victorian England with flair, precision, and all the appropriate class clashes. VERDICT This exceptional romance features a heroine who only wants the freedom to be herself and a strong, insightful hero who encourages her. With flawless research, exquisite sensuality, and brilliant repartee that extends to the bedroom, this is another unforgettable winner from the impeccable Chase. Chase (Vixen in Velvet) lives in Worcester, MA.
Kirkus Reviews
Beautiful heiress Lady Clara Fairfax is getting tired of proposals from men she doesn't want, so when she meets brilliant, compelling barrister Oliver Radford, she is intrigued, then enthralled as the two attempt to save an urchin and survive the dangerous aftermath of their benevolent alliance. Lady Clara is the catch of the season, but so far no one has tempted her to be caught. To escape the endless line of suitors vying for her hand in marriage she has become involved in the Milliners' Society for the Education of Indigent Females, which "housed and educated girls determined, against prodigious odds, to be respectable." Tired of being a society ornament, she finds great pleasure in improving lives, and when one of the society's protégées asks for help retrieving her brother from a sordid street gang, Clara approaches Oliver Radford, a barrister well-known for his powerful legal mind and his flexible social connections from all walks of life. Radford is a perfect ally for the task. However, rescuing the boy puts them all in unexpected danger from both a risky illness and a vicious enemy. At first drawn to Radford's intelligence, which too often swings toward impatience, Clara is torn between putting him in his place and rising far above his low expectations, but once he understands that her outer beauty and fashion-plate style are simply window dressing to a bright mind and conscientious spirit, they understand they have met their matches—and perfect mates—in each other. Now all they have to do is outwit their enemies and settle into an unexpected social position, both of which are complicated obstacles to a happy future. Chase moves beyond the couture Noirot sisters in her historical Dressmakers series, and the unconventional pairing of an aristocrat and a barrister, plus an exploration of London poverty and the well-intentioned "ragged schools," adds fascinating social and historical texture. Chase retains her well-earned star status.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Dressmakers Series , #4
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.30(d)

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Meet the Author

Loretta Chase has worked in academe, retail, and the visual arts, as well as on the street—as a meter maid—and in video, as a scriptwriter. She might have developed an excitingly checkered career had her spouse not nagged her into writing fiction. Her bestselling historical romances, set in the Regency and Romantic eras of the early nineteenth century, have won a number of awards, including the Romance Writers of America's RITA®.

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Dukes Prefer Blondes 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The dialogue between the hero and heroine was intelligent, witty, and humorous. I have read all of the novels in the dressmaker series; and, this one is my favorite, by far, in the series. L. Chase has written a brilliant romance novel with intelligent characters. This one is a MUST READ.
EllenParker More than 1 year ago
London 1835 Lady Clara Fairfax was raised to marry a duke. She knew all the rules of ladylike behavior – and chaffed at each and every one. Why was it necessary to hide her intellect and use a disguise to call on a lawyer? Raven (Oliver) Radford followed his father, the son of a duke’s second son, into the practice of law. At times the criminals were easier to contend with than his cousins. If only they would stop dying off, he could continue a profession he enjoyed. Lady Clara persuades Raven to take her case. It’s not his first choice, but when the clues direct him to the possibility of arresting a criminal intent on killing him as well as rescuing a boy from a life of crime, his interest is captured. The verbal sparring between Lady Clara and Raven makes this story exceptional. Add the elements of suspense and it’s the sort of story that will keep you turning pages all night.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of her best books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Started out well, but the overall theme seems to be how so very clever the two main characters are. After a while it just tends to all be a bit tedious.
northamericanwordcat More than 1 year ago
Oh, how I loved this book. It is like a lemon tart. Biting, sweet, unusual and so delicious. The banter is to die for. The hero and heroine book have such sexy, sexy brains. I had not read any of the other books in the series and that didn't dampen my enjoyment one bit. They are a complex couple. Chase does such a wonderful job with the mixed emotions and falling in love. The romance is in perfect balance with the action of the story. I can't wait to reread my favorite parts. This is a book I will return again and again. Go get it!
julieford More than 1 year ago
Loretta Chase creates wonderfully entertaining books that keep the reader enthralled to the very end. This is the story of Lady Clara Fairfax, who was raised to be a duchess but has set her sights on a barrister. Raven Radford is distantly related to the Duke of Malvern and is currently a barrister. He is extremely intelligent which annoys most people but Lady Clara finds him exciting. Together they work to find a missing boy. Along the way, the differences in their stations become less significant as their feelings grow stronger. They must overcome the prejudices of others in order to stay together.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
gaele More than 1 year ago
In keeping with my obsession for all things historic romance, I honestly believed I had read more of Loretta Chase’s work than I have. Yet, this is the first I’ve read of her Dressmakers series even though it is the fourth book, but aside from reading from the start of the series (an issue I remedied with Christmas) I can’t think of a better way than to start in with Dukes Prefer Blondes. Clara is the daughter of a Marquess, exceptionally beautiful, much desired by several suitors and exceedingly bored by it all. Bored to tears actually, or in her case, bored into some rather impetuous decisions and behaviors. I adored Clara – she wanted to be seen as “more” than just another pretty face or decoration for some man’s house, and her curiosity leads her into both learning more about the plight of those less fortunate, but actually standing up to those who are behaving badly. (I loved that she went at the gang leader’s second in command). While commendable in theory, Clara’s actions have brought her into the limelight of some very nefarious men, known for extreme solutions to issues that may stand in their way. Oliver (Raven) is in line for a title he doesn’t really want from relatives that have an uncanny knack for doing themselves in through stupidity. A barrister, like his father, his childhood was spent being bullied by these self-same cousins through school: they were (and proved it) lunkheads to the end, while Oliver is quite observant, intelligent and not above taking a few risks if the resulting odds are favorable. These two are delightful together: moments from their first encounter that showed Clara was far from the “proper” girl that was expected of her, and little has changed. She’s desperate to not be bored to death, but aside from a need for excitement, her burgeoning understanding of the world, and the good and evil within it spur her onward to do more for those who will d from it. From her initial encounter with Oliver, where she is taken by his presence and cool demeanor to her desperate determination to have him see more than a pretty and spoiled unmarried woman in front of him, their conversations and growing affections are a treat to behold. Dialogue in this story pulls you in, puts you in the middle of the action and shows the core strength of both characters, while introducing secondary characters, attitudes and showing the growing esteem between them, adding to the character development and plot in almost equal measure. With interferences from family, servants, Oliver’s partner and the criminal element, it’s easy to see why Oliver not only came to love but truly enjoyed Clara: seeing deeply beneath the pretty girl to a woman who not only was strong and intelligent, but passionate, caring and a perfect option for a wife. Now I only have to start this series from the beginning to find more hours of enjoyment. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great from start to finish?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loretta Chase always writes a great story..
BJsReviews More than 1 year ago
4 "Smart Love" Stars! Fans of Loretta Chase know that she loves to write romantic tales concerning highly intelligent couples that are attracted to one another, first and foremost, by their complementary intellect. Dukes Prefer Blondes definitely delivers on this front. You will not be at a loss for witty repartees, even if at times you may want to throttle the hero for some of his seemingly less than complimentary views of women. Fortunately, the heroine in Dukes Prefer Blondes knows just to how to put him in his place with her quick verbal sparring which always seems to position her with the upper hand and ultimately works to benefit them both with a match made in academic heaven! Lady Clara Fairfax has been raised to marry a man of the upper echelons of society, preferably a duke. Unfortunately for her, while many others would greatly envy her position of fending off marriage proposals left and right, Clara can't help but feel stifled and as if she is drowning in all the luxurious coddling that women of her rank are inevitably constantly treated to. Even more detrimental to her state of mind is the constant disregard for her mental acuity. Ladies of her station are just not supposed to be rational and logical or really of much use at all except in certain domestic and fashionable regards. Imagine her surprise then when the first man to actually pay her any heed also happens to be one of the most satisfyingly complex and yet equally frustrating men she has ever met. Oliver "Raven" Radford, a barrister who although he comes from a good family (he is the cousin of a duke), has always been a member of the family's working class arm. The more he gets entangled in her plan to save a brother and sister that Clara met at her favorite charity and whom Clara has taken it upon herself to save from a dangerous street gang, the more she begins to appreciate Raven's willingness--even if begrudgingly given--to see her for more than a damsel in distress with no ability to fend for herself. Amidst this danger, and in between constant parleys that are as sharp as any sword, Clara and Raven begin to ignite under the intense passion they share. However, this inevitable attraction to one another only highlights society's harsh rules which no doubt will never allow room for a union of such disparate ranks. Will Raven be able to keep Clara safe from the imminent danger that she courts in her quest to save the brother and sister that she has taken under wing? Moreover, even if he can, is he not just setting them both up for the inevitable heartbreak that is sure to follow their attempt to break with society's conventions? If you are looking for a romance to challenge your mind and your heart, then look no further, Dukes Prefer Blondes is sure to fit your need. Source: Review copy provided in exchange for an honest review.
beckymmoe More than 1 year ago
Clara and Oliver Radford/Raven are my new favorite fictional couple! I loved everything about this book--such lovely, witty writing; fantastic banter between the hero and heroine; Raven's complete lack of social skills and somehow endearing obnoxiousness; the description of Clara's outfits--did I mention the hero and heroine are my most favorite couple ever? ;) Gah! I just want to bask in the warm glow this book has left me with. I'm afraid to start reading something else because it might not be as awesome. (But I will--because, books. I'll be brave and take one for the team.) I'd only read the first book in this series ( Silk Is for Seduction ) up until this point, and therefore missed most of the previous Clara parts. Clearly, I'm going to have to go back and read the rest; it won't be quite the same without Oliver Radford, but just knowing he's in her future will be enough. (Plus, the Noirot sisters are such fun. I've had the other two books on my TBR for ages...there's no excuse, really.) I highlighted so many favorite parts in this book, but won't put them all here so that other readers can have the joy of discovery for themselves. I'll just put in two that really show the two things I love most about this book; first, the quick wit: He was a man, an attractive man if one overlooked the obnoxiousness. But women had to overlook men's personality flaws, else nobody would ever wed and/or reproduce and the human race would come to an end. (LOL, preach it, sister!) ...and the second, the lovely romance under all the bluster and banter: She laughed. And sunshine broke out in the shadowy bedroom. His heart soared with a happiness so rare he wasn't sure happiness was the name for it. See? He thinks things like that and I just melt. Sigh. Such a lovely romance. Excuse me while I go back and re-read all my favorite bits again... Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Spent a day of vacation reading. While Lord of Scoundrels remains my all-time favorite Chase, this is a most worthy conclusion of the Dressmakers. Unless Loretta would like to offer a reunion of some sort.
Anonymous 4 months ago
He is an average cat at the clan known as MarvelClan. Sadly, this clan ha long died out and finding the camps is not simple. He has a blac and orange pelt and is scarred on his left ear. He was the son of Pertlil and Nightcorp. His only sibling was Teenapa who die in a flood. Other reletives are uknown except for his aunt and uncle Pewterpetal and Raindrop. They are believed to be on his motjers sid of the family. He was aparently a super fast hunter and was said to have the special power of seeing vibrarions. After the Marvelclan turned to mere memories, he vanished. I assume he roleplays at some other clan rps. He posted a few mentions of working at goodwill stores in rl an has a younger sister and brother. <br> -Sherlock Kitty.