With this entrancing Regency, Ridley (Forever Your Duke) introduces the Wild Wynchesters series, named for a found family of six orphans—each with a useful if disreputable talent—who were long ago adopted by the late Baron Vanderbean and now live together as adult vigilantes on the fringes of London’s polite society. Chloe Wynchester, an accomplished pickpocket able to blend into any setting, is determined to recover a painting stolen from her family by the late Duke of Faircliffe. When she learns that Lawrence Gosling—the new duke, who hopes to marry into the money needed to restore his family’s honor—plans to give the painting to his intended, Chloe infiltrates the woman’s social circle to steal it back. But things don’t go to plan: the painting is a fake, and Chloe inadvertently abducts Lawrence, thinking his carriage is her getaway vehicle. Lawrence agrees to owe Chloe a favor if she promises not to tarnish his reputation by revealing that they were alone together, and Chloe uses his gratitude to continue hunting for the missing painting—but soon learns that behind Lawrence’s stuffy façade is a man just as intelligent, passionate, and delightfully silly as she is. Their affecting romance is grounded in push and pull, but the real star of the show is the love the Wynchesters have for one another. This lighthearted paean to shunning respectability is a knockout. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
"Erica Ridley is a delight!"Julia Quinn
"This entrancing Regency...is a knockout."Publishers Weekly
“Ridley’s motley crew of Wynchester siblings is as charming as it is unforgettable, signaling more great romance ahead. The Duke Heist is everything a Regency romance fan hopes for.”BookPage
"Erica Ridley's love stories are warm, witty and irresistible. I want to be a Wynchester!"Eloisa James
Lawrence Gosling, the Duke of Faircliffe, is in want of a family but, more important, he's in need of a rich wife. After years of his father gambling away their fortunes, Lawrence must play everything perfectly if he's to turn around the reputation and outlook of his estate. Miss Chloe Wynchester has no need for a husband but is happy to pretend otherwise on her quest to recover a family painting stolen by the late Duke of Faircliffe. The reputation of the wild Wynchester siblings allows Chloe to convince the duke to help her wrangle a husband while her sister and "chaperone" searches his home. The more time spent together, the more each defies the other's expectations. But Lawrence is responsible for keeping the estate—and its employees—going, and Chloe knows society will never accept her, a Wynchester and an easily forgotten one at that, unless one of them is willing to take a drastic leap. VERDICT Schemes, heists, and forgeries abound in this charming series starter by Ridley (Forever Your Duke). This unconventional and quirky Regency will have readers falling for the plucky family and rooting for Chloe and Lawrence to buck tradition.—Kellie Tilton, Univ. of Cincinnati Blue Ash
A young lady attempts to steal a painting but finds she’s nabbed a duke instead.
Most young women trying to sneak into Regency society long to be seen, but Chloe Wynchester is the opposite: She strives to be invisible. She and her siblings, an eclectic group of six orphans adopted by the late Baron Vanderbean, use their unique talents “doing good works beneath people’s noses.” Though most of their missions are altruistic, her latest aim is personal: to liberate a painting that was significant to Bean and is precious to his adopted brood, stolen from them by Lawrence Gosling’s father, the previous Duke of Faircliffe, who had sold it to Bean years ago because he needed the money. She hatches an elaborate plan to steal it back, but the plot is upended when she accidentally kidnaps the duke instead. The timing couldn’t be worse, from Lawrence’s perspective, as he’s sacrificed nearly everything he has to rebuild his family’s reputation and is about to complete his task by proposing marriage to a woman with a large dowry. As his kidnapper, Chloe is all too visible to Lawrence, who assumes she’s a social climber. Needing some reason to keep seeing Lawrence as she searches for the still-missing painting, Chloe convinces him to give her lessons and help her find a wealthy suitor. The attraction between them grows with each lesson, especially when he learns that she’s an avid follower of Parliament and can match him argument for argument. Their first kiss leaves both certain of their chemistry, but Lawrence is still Chloe’s sworn enemy even if he doesn’t know it, and he’s also still set on restoring his dukedom, so even as they fall in love, both struggle to abandon what they’ve always believed and who they pretend to be. There are plenty of steamy scenes, but the emotional center of the book unfolds as Lawrence and Chloe come to care for each other and, for the first time, experience being seen and loved for who they truly are. Though slightly bogged down with exposition, the story is a charming introduction to a new series, and readers will look forward to seeing the next Wynchester meet their match.
A delightful historical romance featuring a new family of nonconformists to fall in love with.