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A lady with a noble mission. A duke looking for redemption. A forbidden love that cannot be denied, in The Good, The Bad, and The Duke by Janna MacGregor.
Lady Daphne Hallworth is ready to celebrate the holidays with her family. But when they accidentally leave her home alone, Daphne uses the time to work on her dreamopening a home for unwed mothers. But her quest isn’t problem-free: She’s in a battle to win the property for the home against her brother’s best friend-turned-enemy, Paul Barstowe, Duke of Southart. And that’s not all: someone has stolen her personal diary, which holds secrets that could devastate her family. Daphne has always harbored private feelings for the man her family scorns…though perhaps striking a bargain with the handsome Duke will solve both their problems?
Paul, long considered good for nothing, aims to open a hospital to honor his brother and restore his reputation. So when a conflict over the land brings him straight into Daphne’s life, they make a deal: He will help her find her diary if Daphne can change her family’s opinion of him. But before he can win her family’s affection, he has to win hers first. Maybe love was the answer to their family feud all along?
About the Author
Janna MacGregor was born and raised in the bootheel of Missouri. She credits her darling mom for introducing her to the happily-ever-after world of romance novels. Janna writes stories where compelling and powerful heroines meet and fall in love with their equally matched heroes. She is the mother of triplets and lives in Kansas City with her very own dashing rogue, and two smug, but not surprisingly, perfect pugs. She loves to hear from readers. She is the author of the Cavensham Heiresses series, which includes The Bad Luck Bride, The Bride Who Got Lucky, and The Luck of the Bride.
Read an Excerpt
Sixteen years later
The London residence of the Duke of Langham
Paul relaxed in the leather chair that sat directly in front of the Duke of Langham's mahogany desk. In so many ways, the piece resembled the duke — massive, dark, but with an inherent warmth that made a person want to settle in for a long afternoon of pleasure mixed with work.
That was the allure of Langham. As one of the most respected — not to mention powerful — members in the House of Lords, his acceptance of Paul by being the first to stand at the end of Paul's introductory address to the noble institution had made Paul's welcome by its members easier. Everyone had followed the duke's example and stood. As the sound of clapping and cheers echoed through the chambers, Paul finally had allowed himself to relax.
His peers accepted him.
However, the duke's nephew-in-law, Paul's oldest but estranged friend, Alexander, the Marquis of Pembrooke, had been one of the last to stand when Paul received a standing ovation for his speech.
The marquess's act of disdain that day still stung but wasn't much of a surprise. Their former friendship had been destroyed by Paul's selfish acts. But Pembrooke's brief note offering condolences on the death of Paul's brother three months ago meant the world to him. Paul kept it on his desk as a reminder of all the things he'd lost in his life, but it also represented hope. If Pembrooke thought enough to pen a note, then perhaps Paul could redeem himself in his former friend's eyes.
"I'm not the only one who has noticed the amount of work you're doing to familiarize yourself with the upcoming parliamentary session next year," Langham offered. "It shows your commitment. Lord Kenton may offer you a position on one of his committees. If you want it, I'll see that it happens."
"I'd appreciate your help. I can never repay you for your kindness." Paul glanced at his little finger where the large ruby in his signet ring flashed like fire. Every Duke of Southart had worn it since William III had bestowed the stone as a thank-you for the first duke's valiant service. For Paul, the ring was not a symbol of his father, but a symbol of Paul's family. It should have been Robbie's, but Paul wore it in Robbie's place. For that reason alone, it meant something to him. "I couldn't have made such strides without your thoughts and guidance."
The duke waved his hand through the air as if it were nothing. The fact that he'd allowed Paul entrance into Langham Hall after Paul had jilted the duke's niece years ago on the night of their engagement ball spoke of the duke's forgiving nature.
He swallowed, hoping to relieve his unease at such painful memories. He'd been desperate that night. Gambling recklessly trying to win back all the money he'd lost. Pembrooke had come to rescue him, but in return for buying Paul's debts, Pembrooke demanded that Paul release Lady Claire Cavensham, Langham's niece, from the betrothal. Based upon Paul's behavior at the gambling hells, Pembrooke thought he wasn't good enough for the duke's niece. Which in hindsight was true — much to Paul's own disgrace. He did as asked, not thinking of the ramifications, by breaking with her at their engagement ball, and Pembrooke had quickly married Claire within the week to save her from the ton's vicious rumors. Now Lady Claire was the Marchioness of Pembrooke.
"Langham" — he cleared his throat hoping that brief moment would summon forth the right words — "I truly am sorry for my previous behavior when I was engaged to your niece."
The duke slowly leaned forward and focused his hawk-like gaze on Paul. Moments slipped by, causing their earlier ease with each other to grow tense. Finally, the duke finished his examination and leaned back in his chair. "There's no need to revisit the past. What you need to concentrate on is your current and future actions. They'll define your worth as the new Duke of Southart."
Paul nodded. "That's one of the things I want to discuss. I'm starting a new charity, a hospital that specializes in the treatment of rheumatic fever, to honor my late brother, Robbie. It'll be a place for patients who have no other alternatives for care, and hopefully, it'll provide research opportunities for the top medical professionals in that area of study."
A smile tugged at the duke's mouth, and his blue eyes flashed with delight. "That's a noble cause, and one you should be passionate about."
"I am," Paul answered truthfully. He'd been thinking of starting this endeavor for years, ever since Robbie had first become ill.
"How can I help?" the duke asked.
"I've instructed my solicitors to find a suitable property. And I hoped you'd come to a benefit soiree I plan to host in several months —" Before he could continue, Pembrooke and Nicholas, the Earl of Somerton, entered the room. While Pembrooke had married the duke's niece, Somerton had married the duke's daughter, Lady Emma Cavensham, now the Countess of Somerton.
"Come in, gentlemen," the duke called out in greeting. "Southart and I were discussing his plans for a new hospital in honor of his late brother. Grand idea, don't you think?"
Paul stood and nodded in greeting.
Somerton answered Paul's nod with a brief one of his own, but Pembrooke visibly stiffened his shoulders and stared at him as if he were an intruder.
"It's an admirable goal," Pembrooke finally said. "However, completing such a project takes dedication, hard work, and gravitas. Traits you always seemed to lack. Unless you've acquired them in recent years." One arrogant eyebrow arched slowly. Silence descended at the curt denouncement.
Somerton shook his head. "Pembrooke, enough."
"Things haven't changed, I see." The duke exhaled and gently drummed the fingers of one hand on the desktop. "Perhaps you'd both like to join us, and we could discuss this in more detail."
Arm in arm with smiles on their faces, Somerton's wife, Emma, and Lady Daphne entered. Both women were attractive, but Paul's gaze fixated on Daphne. She'd turned into a real diamond of the first water. She was breathtaking.
As soon as Daphne saw Paul, her eyes widened. "Paul ... I mean, Your Grace. How wonderful to see you."
The excitement in her voice rang through the room. All he could do was grin. "Lady Somerton," he answered. "Lady Daphne, the pleasure is all mine."
Emma nodded in return, but Daphne's smile grew bigger. The brilliance in her unusual gray eyes reminded him of simpler times when they were all younger — and all true friends. They'd certainly been more at ease with one another's company.
She broke away from her friend, then approached Paul. Her happy greeting caused the tightness in his chest to ease.
He took her gloved hand in his. Though her hand was covered, he could detect the inherent softness of her skin. Unable to resist, he gently squeezed, signaling his pleasure at her welcome. "Congratulations. I understand your mother married Somerton's father. I wish both of them happiness."
"Thank you. I'll give Mother and Renton your regards." Still holding his hand, she executed a perfect curtsy. "We're all so happy for their union. An added benefit is that Alex and I have a new stepbrother, Somerton."
"And he has a new stepbrother and stepsister. I'm envious," Paul said. "But very happy for all of you."
"My condolences to you on the recent passing of your brother and father." She squeezed his hand in return.
"Thank you." He was desperate for the comfort she offered and made the mistake of holding her hand a little too long.
"Daphne," commanded Pembrooke.
She dropped his hand as if burned, then turned to her brother. "Alex, I didn't see you." She hesitated for a moment.
But it was long enough for Paul to see the division that lay between him and Pembrooke extended to Daphne as well. Without another word, she went to stand beside her brother. The awkwardness in the room grew until it became unbearable for Paul. He quickly took his leave from the duke and Lord and Lady Somerton, then forced himself to face Pembrooke.
Daphne's brother had his head bent to hers in a private conversation.
"Why not welcome him?" she murmured. "The duke has."
"He may be the Duke of Southart now, but he hasn't changed. He promises nothing but disappointment. Remember what he did to Claire." Alex bit out the words. "Stay away from him."
Daphne glanced his way while her brother engaged in a conversation with Langham.
A flush of heat threatened to overtake Paul.
She bit her lip, then dropped her gaze.
They both were aware Paul had heard every word.
Three months later — exactly three days before Christmastide The London residence of the Duke of Southart
Paul resisted the urge to straighten the cuffs of his shirt, a habit he acquired years ago when confronting his father in this very room. He stared into the glass of brandy. This particular vintage had been his father's favorite until he and his older brother, Robert, had replaced three bottles with rust-colored water. His father hadn't punished Robbie, but Paul couldn't sit down for a week without a pillow underneath.
"Would I what?" Paul glanced from the glass into the bottomless green eyes of Devan Farris. He was in London for Christmastide ready to receive his new assignment in the church. What made Devan unique was his steadfastness. He was the only man who hadn't given up on Paul, and he was Paul's last true friend in the world. It made little difference that Devan happened to be the most unusual vicar who had ever resided in Easton, a tiny village located five miles north of Paul's duchy.
It was still difficult to refer to Southart as such. Six months ago, his father — with probable infinite pleasure — had shocked everyone with his death just two days after Robbie's passing from rheumatic fever, a lasting souvenir from his severe bout of scarlet fever. Robbie's death had been expected, as his health had declined rapidly over the last three years, but their father's sudden passing surprised everyone. The doctor had concluded the duke's heart had suddenly stopped. Paul had a better diagnosis; his father had died of a broken heart. The contrary act had made Paul the new Duke of Southart, even though he still considered himself the second son, the spare heir — just like his father had.
Perhaps he always would. His gaze skimmed his azure merino wool dress coat with diamond buttons and black silk pantaloons. He dressed like a duke, but beneath the wrappings of his position in society and wealth, he was still the same man — one who had lived a life full of mistakes and regrets. However, he'd change all that with the creation of his hospital.
"Would you swive the new Duchess of Renton? Though she's old enough to be our mother, she's still grand looking." Devan rose from the settee and poured another glass of brandy. "How many times do I have to go through the entire Debrett's listing of married women in the ton? You used to be marvelous fun at this game. Now a day-old dumpling has more appeal. By the way, this swallows like a whore's —"
"For the love of God, Farris. You're a man of the church." Paul shook his head and chuckled. His old friend could always make him smile with his outrageous comments and game of "Would You Swive?"
"Need I remind you that I'm considered one of the most devout of my profession?" Devan's arrogance transformed into an expression of a dutiful clergyman ready to hear confessions. "Oh, I can give my flock a pious look. I can recite a couple of pieces of verse as I bow my head and close my eyes. As I whisper a trite prayer, they all think I'm the holiest thing that ever came into this world." He threw back his head and laughed. "I love my work."
The joy in Farris's face was contagious, and Paul grinned in return. For the moment, this was exactly what he'd needed to steal away his grief from losing his family — meaningless fun with a friend.
"Of course, if they only knew that I can swill whisky along with the best of men. Besides, I'm proud of the fact that I've raised my fair amount of hell and have never been caught," Devan boasted.
"I taught you everything you know," Paul quipped.
"No, I taught you ... except the women part. How in the devil you could seduce the Countess of Velton is beyond me." Devan squinted and shuddered.
His reaction reminded Paul of sour lemons.
"In defense of the old dame, it was out of respect." Paul had only bedded her once, but it was a fond memory. Twenty years older and with the patience of Job, she'd taught him all sorts of sensual delights. At the age of seventeen, he had known nothing about women. Lady Velton had sought his attention at a house party, then had kindly taught him every seduction technique she'd acquired in her thirty-plus years upon the earth. With all that bountiful knowledge, he could take a woman on a sensual journey in bed that she'd never forget. In return, he found his own satisfaction knowing that when he took a woman to bed she was treated like a queen. He lifted his glass in Lady Velton's honor for a weekend that had proved well worth his time, and he hoped that she considered him worth her time.
"You're a simpleton when it comes to women," Devan countered.
"Careful, my friend." Paul leaned back and regarded him with a half-lidded gaze. "I'm not a simpleton, but I am a simple man, one with simple tastes and simple goals."
Devan grunted in response.
"I adore beautiful women, vintage champagne, fine clothes, and the worst gambling hells I can find." Paul set the brandy aside and rose from the richly appointed mahogany desk. The Moroccan leather chair moaned, protesting like a cast-aside lover. He circled the massive piece of wood and made his way to the side table, where he poured a glass of champagne. He lifted the glass in the air, but Devan shook his head.
"I'm fine with this," the vicar answered. "By the way, how goes the search for a property for the new hospital?"
"My solicitors found a perfect location. I trust their judgment and directed them to place a suitable bid on the property."
"Sight unseen?" Devon raised a brow.
"Yes, I didn't want to lose it," Paul said. "Apparently, someone else is interested in it."
Both raised their glasses to each other.
"To the hospital," Paul toasted.
"To the hospital." Devan nodded. "And friends old and new."
Paul exhaled loudly. "Why did you choose a profession in the church? With your new assignment forthcoming, you'll likely settle in a small town with nothing to offer but a constant view of cows chewing their cuds."
Devan tilted his head as he considered Paul's question. "Well, as the fourth son of an earl, I didn't have many options in life. I could have gone into the military, but how bourgeois. There's only so much entertainment to be had in the daily cleaning of weapons." He leaned forward. "What other choice did I have? Let me tell you a secret few know. As a man of the church, I'm revered. I always have a tea or dinner invitation readily offered from the various families of my parish." He shrugged his shoulders. "I can flirt with the prettiest women in town, and no one bats an eye."
"Give it up. Come live at Southart. The duchy's rectory is a lovely place, and you could settle into a life that I guarantee will be fulfilling. You'll have my wretched soul to watch over. That should keep you busy until the end of your days."
When Devan examined him with a razor-sharp gaze, prickles of unease raised the hair on the back of Paul's neck. An image of Devan pulling away the layers of sins and misdeeds while trying to find something redeeming inside increased Paul's discomfort. Such a task as finding anything worthwhile in his rotten soul would take the vicar years or, most likely, eons.
"That came out of the clear blue. Feeling nostalgic this time of year, my friend?" Devan tilted his head.
"Hardly. I received another note and vowel from my father addressed to 'The Great Disappointment, my baseborn son.' The solicitor sent it over this morning."
"Christ," Devan said. "Your father's cruelty knows no bounds. What's the amount of the vowel?"
"I owe the Reynolds fifteen pounds. This makes the third one in three weeks. He's haunting me from the grave." He laughed, but the sound held no humor. "The vowels are all such little amounts. Why did he save them? I could have paid these amounts years ago."
Devan shrugged his shoulders, but his gaze never left Paul's.
"I'll tell you why. He's humiliating me." Paul allowed his carefully constructed image of a bored and pampered aristocrat to melt away. He commanded a deep breath to dampen the bite of pain that appeared at the most inopportune times. On most occasions, he managed to tame the misery residing close to his every thought and deed. This moment was a watershed. His grief over his father's sudden death was a constant mystery. He and his brother had been close for siblings, but his father had treated him as if he were something the cat had dragged into the house in the blackest part of night. When Robbie had discovered Paul's beating by their father's hand over the brandy prank, Robbie had entered their father's study and not emerged for an hour.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Good, The Bad, And The Duke"
Copyright © 2018 JLWR, LLC.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
As a lover of historical regency novels, I really enjoyed this book. The lovely Lady Daphne finds herself in a dilemma when her family leaves for Christmas holiday and accidentally leaves her at home, which is an unheard of predicament for a young lady of quality. But taking advantage of this time she focuses on a dream that she has had of forging forward on her own, and opening a home for unwed mothers. When searching out the perfect property, she comes into competition with another would-be buyer, who just happens to be a long-time acquaintance, who is now a Duke. The twists and turns of how this couple weaves in and out of how to behave properly in public, and how to handle the love that is growing between them makes for a very interesting read. At times steamy (which I have no problem with), the couple work sometimes together and sometimes against to find their way to each other. There are back stories that get in their way- providing obstacles that they must overcome. I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and publishers in return for an honest review, which this has been.
I know it’s early to be reading Christmas-related books, but really – is it ever too early to read Christmas stories? ❤️ Lady Daphne Hallworth quickly became one of my all-time favourite characters. She tried her best to be “the perfect daughter/sister/etc” and she shoved all her feelings in a diary. It actually sounds like something I would do, with the exception that I’ve tried to write a diary several times, but I always end up forgetting to write in it. I personally like to lay at night thinking about what I would write, and sometimes even say it out loud, in a whispered voice, just to put those feelings out there. So I can imagine what Daphne felt when her diary was stolen – as a result of a good action, which is even worse! But, rest assure dear reader, she is not alone. In comes Paul Barstowe, Duke of Southart, former friend of Daphne’s brother, and her former (and current!) crush. Paul acted badly in the past and that caused him to alienate his friends, but Daphne never truly believed he was a horrible person, instead she believed he was someone who had made mistakes, but who was truly a good person (which, of course, it’s true). Daphne is left alone at Christmas and Paul is the one that is going to make her company and help her retrieve her diary. Paul and his Moonbeam. I loved their relationship, Paul was so sweet with Daphne, and all he wanted was to help her. Even the impediments that might have gotten in the way, it was all resolved and I loved how strong and determined Daphne was, and how Paul tried to be his best version, for himself, for Daphne and for those that now depended on him. That’s one of my favourite things about the book, Paul’s awakening to become someone… not different per se, but someone with new objectives and a different view of life and of what really matters. And that’s also what brings Daphne’s family and friends back to being friends with Paul. They see how he’s improved, and that he is trying, he’s doing his best to become better, and he deserves the vote of confidence. After reading this book, I decided never to have a diary with me in public and, if I ever do write in a journal, to have it locked at all times, because I don’t know if I could handle the stress of losing or having it robbed, with all my private thoughts. Daphne’s fight and endurance to act the right way not just for her, but for her family and those that might be affected by what she had written, was inspiring. The Christmas ambience helped the story’s redemption arc, and it was lovely to have the beautiful descriptions of winter and Christmas decorations. I do love a good Christmas romance.
First, can I tell you how much I love this cover? I adore how season-appropriate it is and makes for a lovely postcard. I enjoyed the inside too. Daphne is a strong-willed heroine, quite intrepid, and has a loving heart. She has always seen the good in Paul and stands up for him against her brother. Paul is a redeemed hero. He's got a nobility in him that he only shows to Daphne and to his best friend Devan. I believed in their story and their eventual fall into love. Janna's writing keeps getting better with each new book. There were fewer anachronisms here than the previous ones and her character development is also much improved. Suggestions for future books: less flowery language and less introspection. I'll definitely read her future work.
A pesar de que ya no estoy leyendo tanto romance histórico como antes, The Cavensham Heiresses de Janna MacGregor es una serie que no quiero dejar. Las historias hasta ahora se me han hecho muy románticas y divertidas. En los tres libros pasados tanto Paul Barstow como Daphne Hallworth han sido personajes que han aparecido desde el principio en papeles muy opuestos. Daphne es hermana de Alexander, el protagonista del primer libro quien odia a Paul apesar de que fueron grandes amigos. Daphne tiene un ligero crush con Paul y acepta su ayuda cuando pierde su diario. Por su parte Paul, el nuevo Duque de Southart está tratando de redimirse ante la sociedad después de su terrible comportamiento por tantos años. He leído varias historias donde el protagonista masculino tenía una mala reputación y termina reformándose, pero es la primera vez que me toca conocer en parte como se crean esas opiniones. pero admito que incluso en ese primer libro donde Paul rompe el compromiso con Claire Cavensham, sentí esperanza de que no era una mala persona y que pronto conoceríamos otro lado de él. Por fin ha sucedido y estoy contenta con la forma en que la autora decidió redimirlo. En cuanto a Daphne, la chica no fue de mi total agrado. Me gustó que en ningún momento se rindiera con Paul aún cuando este se la pasaba martirizándose a sí mismo y que la chica mostrara su fortaleza al defenderlo ante su hermano pero actúa de una forma muy tonta al insistir en recuperar personalmente ese diario., y no fue una sola vez sino varias en las que su obstinación ponía en peligro la reputación que tanto quería cuidar. Aunque ella no fue mi heroína favorita y él a veces se pasaba con su actitud sombría, fueron una buena pareja. Hubo varios momentos en los que me hicieron sonreír y me agradó que Paul le ayudara a Daphne a lidiar con su duelo por la muerte de su hermana,. Se necesitaban el uno al otro. Quedé contenta con el libro pero no fue de los mejores. Ya quiero conocer la siguiente historia.
Paul Barstowe, the Duke of Southern s trying his hardest to overcome his past and turn over a new leaf. He and Lady Daphne Hallworth bid on the same property that she wants to buy and turn into a home for unwed mothers. Daphne has always had a crush on her older brother’s EX best friend, Paul. She knows his reputation, but she still approaches him and asks for his help finding the missing diary with her family’s secrets. She wants to be independent, he wants to be accepted. A captivating book as Daphne show Paul he’s worthy of love and respect. This my honest opinions after I voluntarily read a copy of this book that was provided to me with no requirements for a review.
A cute and romantic story about redemption and fated love set during the holidays. I enjoyed it after it got underway a bit. The characters were good, the plot entertaining, the conflict enjoyable, and the love story was sweet. I am glad that Paul got reformed and was shown that he wasn’t a reprobate or a scoundrel, but someone who deserved love and forgiveness. I liked how strong LAdy Daphne was, she was a great partner for Paul and a catalyst to help mend the rift between him and his old friends that he hurt years ago with his actions. Overall, an enjoyable story for the holidays with entertaining characters and an enjoyable plot.
Lady Daphne Hallworth is ready to celebrate the holidays with her family. But when they accidentally leave her home alone, Daphne uses the time to work on her dream—opening a home for unwed mothers. But her quest isn’t problem-free: She’s in a battle to win the property for the home against her brother’s best friend-turned-enemy, Paul Barstowe, Duke of Southart. And that’s not all: someone has stolen her personal diary, which holds secrets that could devastate her family. Daphne has always harbored private feelings for the man her family scorns…though perhaps striking a bargain with the handsome Duke will solve both their problems? I started this book with a good feeling.I liked the introduction to Paul and the situation he was in. My problem was with Daphne. The initial introduction to her was cute, but the day that she’s left home alone she goes through so many personality changes within those few pages that I just didn’t like her. Unfortunately, it made it hard for me to want to finish this book. **I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
I received a free ecopy of this book from Netgalley, my first from this author. This is the kind of book that should be read by other authors looking to improve their writing. Her magnificent use of metaphors was awe-inspiring. The poetry of her phrases forced me to linger on every word, to savor the sensations evoked. Ms. MacGregor's fluency and adept use of language floored me throughout the book. She moved seamlessly from exquisitely crafted metaphors to cleverly-worded literal interpretations of words and fun with homophones. Truly, if I could rate this higher than a measly five stars, I would. Not a page passed by without something that caused me to pause in amazement, but here are a few I feel compelled to share. I will end with this: Somehow, she reached a place deep inside his chest and squeezed until she had him worshipping her mouth like a heathen ready to convert to any religion she offered. Describing her as an ethereal creature was like describing the moon as a circle in the sky. It was the only conclusion he could draw, and he'd never had much talent in art. The deep roughness of his voice reminded her of freshly cut wood. Appropriate since he was determined to cut her from his life and, like a splinter, she refused to let go.
This was a well-written, entertaining book. Lady Daphne Hallworth ends up alone for the holidays. She uses the time to write in her personal diary and work on plans for the home for unwed mothers she wants to open. Someone steals her diary, and she discovers her brothers former best friend, now enemy, Paul Barstowe, Duke of Southart, is bidding on the same property she wants for her charity project. Paul is trying to improve his reputation, and wants to open a hospital to honor his brother. Daphne and Paul make an agreement for him to help get her diary back in exchange for her help changing her family's opinion of him. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more books by this author.
We have met both of these characters in previous book in this series. Paul Barstowe, the Duke of Southart has been ostracised through no fault of his own maybe this is why he is continually lamenting why he isn't good enough for the heroine in this story I felt like smacking him to the side of the head and telling him to buck up and get on with it. Lady Daphne Hallworth younger sister of a previous hero wants to start a home for unwed mothers when she is accidently left t home alone by her family during Christmas she sees it as her chance The only probleem been they both want the same land she needs it for her home he wants it to build a hospital on in memory of his brother. As they fall in love while searching for her diary they may both get what they want. I
I loved Daphne and Paul's story!! I always hoped he would get his HEA and MacGregor didn't disappoint! When Daphne is loft alone at home during the holiday season, she decides to make the most of it and do the work she needs to get her home for unwed mother's off the ground. After visiting the location she plans to purchase, she is robbed and her personal journal is stolen. She must get it back or her family could be ruined. She runs into her brother's former friend, Paul, and he agrees to help her out. She knows that she shouldn't allow him to be around her, but he is going to help her... Paul agrees to help Daphne in exchange for her help in trying to restore his friendship with her brother. But as they spend more and more time together, an attraction grows between the two. What will happen when Daphne's brother finds out they have been spending time together? Will it make the situation worse or will it end the rift between the friends? I loved watching these two together. Daphne had known Paul practically her whole life and know that the person she had known as a child was still there somewhere. She hoped that when her brother learned of what Paul had done to help her, it would help to start mend their broken friendship. We see a little glimpse of the two together when Daphne was young and they seemed to have had a bond then too. If was a much different bond now that they were both adults! This was a great addition to the Cavensham Heiresses series and I can't wait to read the next one!
This is my first book by this author and I can def say I will be reading more. I wanted to save it for December so I'd have a holiday read. This is one of those books that really made me "feel" for the characters and I love when a book can do that. Being an avid reader it becomes harder and harder to find books like that. Anyways, I think my favorite line from the book also sums it up very well. " I could fall in love with him easily. Sometimes the heart does what it wants no matter what common sense says."
A Historical romance with heart,emotions and passion. Daphne had something stolen from her that if the contents got out would riuion her family and herself Paul is a person that Daphne shouldn't associate with but she need his help to find her lost article. When they were young they a connection and they are finding that they still have that connection and it is growing each time they are together. Good story,romance and passion. Voluntarily reviewed
I have not been disappointed with any of Ms. MacGregors books. Paul is the Duke of Southart who is trying to become a better man by taken his place in society. He wants to open a hospital in his beloved brothers name so Doctors have a place to do research and help cures for illnesses. He finds he is having to prove himself in more ways than one to society. Daphne is left behind by her family when they leave to celebrate Christmas at her brothers country estate. when she goes for a walk in the park she is set upon by a third who stills her ritacule which contains a journal which she writes her deepest thoughts. She follows the thief to a gaming hell and runs into the Duke of Southart who happens to be her brothers former best friend. But Daphne brings out his instinct to protect her. While trying to find the thief and her journal they both help each other heal. I enjoyed this book very much. I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review.
First, what I loved about the book-- mostly, the heroine, Daphne. She was headstrong and pretty modern thinking for a woman of this era (although I'm not sure what the time period was). I also adored the history that she had with our hero, Paul. I so love getting a peek at the childhood of characters and watching them morph into the adults they become for us in these books. What I didn't love -- that Daphne was so headstrong. Let's face it, she was pretty impetuous and was lucky that her escapades did not land her in more trouble than they did. All in all though, this was a pretty enjoyable book. I read it in only 1 day and when I discovered that there were actually three earlier books in this series, kind of glad that I read it out of order (and if you've read any reviews I write, you know I'm a stickler for NOT reading a series out of order). So now, I can binge the earlier books without having to wait a year to visit the Cavensham heiresses again! It is not a problem at all reading this book out of order. It does an excellent job of standing on it's own though I'm sure once I get the first three read, I'll probably reread this just to get the full enjoyment of an excellent series.
The reformed rake storyline is one of my favorites, and The Good, The Bad, and The Duke by Janna McGregor is an awesome example of how it should be done. Paul Barstowe has become the Duke of Southart after losing his older brother and father. On the outside, he is a duke with wealth and position in society. On the inside, he is dealing with a life full of mistakes and regrets and is working hard to rehabilitate himself in the eyes of that same society. Lady Daphne Hallworth is a very perceptive young woman, who sees the good in Paul even though she knows the mistakes he has made. The unconditional support she receives from Paul gives her the strength to fight for their relationship, even in the face of opposition from her family. Paul wants Daphne, and feels he doesn't deserve her, but her belief in him also gives him strength. "He realized that his contentment, his sense of place in the world, and his belonging was only attributable to her." I really loved this book and enjoyed reading it. The characterizations are wonderful, and the writing is top-notch. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a satisfying historical romance. I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
What a fun and very different regency romance this proved to be! You've probably seen the films in the "Home Alone" series, well this is the adult, regency version. Lady Daphne Hallworth has everything packed up ready to leave London to spend the festive season with her fa mily. The problem is her Mum thinks she's left with her brother and he thinks she's left with their Mum . . . and they've both left her behind! She goes for a walk and a street urchin steals her personal journal, one in which she has written so many family secrets and imagined relationships that would be devastating if it ends in the wrong hands. The chase ends up with Paul Barstowe, the Duke of Southart, coming to her rescue. He was a family friend who had rescued her before and was also the hero in many of her dreams and stories but that was before he fell out with her brother and became estranged from her family. Paul is hoping to create a hospital to honour the memory of his brother, whilst Daphne hopes to create a home for unwed mothers. Unfortunately they are both hoping to purchase the same property for their endeavours. However, Paul keeps striving to protect Daphne and to help her regain possession of her journal and the more they meet the stronger the attraction between them grows. Can they resist temptation? Can he help her keep her reputation and get her journal back? Can she help him become a family friend again? This is the story of a young rebel, rejected by so many, striving for acceptance and finding love. There are so many secrets being kept by both families and it is only as these are uncovered that there is any hope for this couple. It is a story of the truth helping heal old wounds and love shining a light on the way. The friendships and relationships are key to this story and I was very happy with what happened to the person striving to cause trouble for them all! It is the fourth book in this series but can still be read as a standalone - though it may well tempt you to read the others, too! I requested and received a copy of this book via NetGalley without obligation and this is my honest review after choosing to read it.
I received a free, advanced copy of this book from NetGalley.com. This is my unbiased and voluntary review. Basically this is a historical best friend's sister romance, with a twist. Growing up, Lord Paul Barstowe, the second son of the Duke of Southart and Lord Alexander Hallworth, the Marquess of Pembrooke, were best friends, but to Lady Daphne Hallworth, Alex's little sister, Paul was her hero. Unfortunately, due to a misunderstanding, Paul and Alex not only became estranged, but Alex came to think of Paul as his enemy. That happened in the first book, which I have not read yet, but I was enable to glean enough from the narrative provided by the author to understand the dynamics. Once his mother died, Paul grew up with indifference, bordering on hatred, from his father and became a rake, gambler and alcoholic. Years later, his beloved older brother, his protector, Robbie, died of rheumatic fever, followed shortly afterwards by the death of their father, making Paul the Duke of Southart. As Paul strives to be a responsible man, he is further tormented by his father from the grave. Meanwhile, Daphne has grown up to be a lovely but independent young woman. She has been in love with Paul since she was 9 years old but since the estrangement between the two families has kept them apart, she has decided to remain single and open a home for unwed mothers. Due to another miscommunication, she is left alone in London during Christmas time. A street urchin steals her reticule containing her personal journal, which if read by the wrong people, could cause ruin to her family. Spotting her searching for the boy, Paul vows to help her. Spending a few days together, they both realize that they love the other, but can they have a future together? Aside from the rife between her brother and the man she loves, there is a villain, who learns about the journal, and would do anything to destroy them both. Endearing characters and a compelling plot are skillfully written. I enjoyed reading this book, which I stayed up later than I should have to finish. However, I have to wonder, if Alex was such a good friend to Paul, why did he not know what Paul was going through at home, that which molded him into the scoundrel he became? A real friend would have known.
The Good, The Bad, and The Duke by Janna MacGregor The Cavensham Heiresses #4 When Lady Daphne Hayworth was nine an encounter with Paul Barstowe, her brother’s best friend, made a lasting impression. Years later they are given the opportunity to spend time together during the holidays and what transpires changes both of their lives forever. It takes them a bit of time to get to their happily ever after but with each page read I felt the story building and growing in a way that had me hoping all would work out for both of them in the end. This story is well plotted and written with both Daphne and Paul people I admired and could relate to. I loved their story and can’t wait to read what comes next. I am unsure who gets their story told next BUT would love to see the vicar appear in a book of his own someday as he is a man that intrigues me. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC – This is my honest review. 4-5 Stars
The Good, the Bad, and the Duke is a perfect historical romance for readers to enjoy. It is a lovely read filled with witty water, strong characters, and a romance that makes a cold heart feel. The dialogue is fantastic and the personalities you read are deep and true. Two such strong headed characters with clashing goals make for quite an intriguing read! Daphne and Paul are both intriguing characters. I loved their interactions, the shared history we watch unfold, and the promise of something more. Daphne is a heroine I adore. She is smart; a woman who knows her own mind. Her determination to fulfill her plans and keep her secret, all the while protecting those she loves, gives her a spunk that readers can admire and relate to. Paul is a character shrouded in mystery, making the reader questions his motives, but once his true nature is discovered, you know that there is no better match for him. His redemption is a key theme throughout the book and I loved watching him change before my eyes. These two have so many things going against them, but the heart wants what it wants, and that triumph is my favorite. The writing and story building in this book is wonderful. This is my first Janna MacGregor book, but you best believe that I went out to grab the rest of this series! With the holidays coming up, this book is the perfect escape, a beautiful story set during the holidays. Between the covers, you will find hope, romance, second chances, and the most delicious forbidden love.
I throughly enjoyed reading this book. The romance from an earlier childhood promise, belayed through letters never received, reblooms once again, or should I say never went away, as the Duke and Abigail are in each other lives again. With the Duke in London and her wanting independence from family, Abigail decides to be the governess of her neighbor, the Dukes younger sister. Due to weather, the Dukes London entourage ends up having to detour to the Dukes country estate. And the intrigue begins...
I have not read any other books in this series, so I can't compare this book to the others in the series. I had difficulty getting into this story because I found Daphne to be a paradox and not believable. I felt the relationship between Daphne and Paul stilted, especially early in the book. I enjoy a happy ending, but with a little less angst. I was given an ARC for my honest opinion.
This book got off to a slow start for me (not sure why, as I usually really like stories where the characters knew each other first as children). I gave it a chance and by the middle of the second chapter I was hooked. Lady Daphne is overlooked by her happily-married family members in a Home Alone-style Christmas mix-up. She uses her glimpse of freedom to more permanently gain independence from her lovingly, controlling brother. Paul, Duke of Southart, used to be good friends with Lady Daphne's brother. After series of poor chooses and miscommunication led to their estrangement, Paul finds himself trying to reconcile with his once close friend. In a chance encounter, Paul comes to Lady Daphne's aid. She enlists his continued help and in turn agrees to encourage her brother's interest in renewing his friendship with. Paul. Interacting outside the normal confines of polite society, their secret long-time interest in each other quickly blossoms. Yet, individual scandal looms for both Paul and Lady Daphne. Janna MacGregor created a wonderful read. Will Paul and Lady Daphne be able to save themselves, each other, and navigate their family's disapproval?
Step back in time as Janna MacGregor takes you on a journey that will turn your heart upside down and satisfy every emotion needed in a historical romance. A newly title Duke, Paul Barstowe was looking for redemption to overcome his past foibles. Oh, yes there were many as he tried to defy the father that never felt he was good enough and had no love to give him. But his father passed away very quickly after his brother, who on his deathbed, wished Paul to become the Good Duke. Lady Daphne had her own trials when it seemed she was the insignificant family member as she was left at home for Christmas by mistake! But why not take advantage and pursue her dream of opening a home for Unwed mothers and be independent with the money that was left to her? Of course, her plans go astray when her journal with all her thoughts (oh yes, there were some great fantasies there about Paul- wait, yes she knew him from when she was young!) was snatched by an urchin!! But who else would she run into but Paul at the gaming house the thief ran into!! The adventure begins as fate steps in and throws them together. Yes, they need each other and Daphne is a force to be reckoned with! Loved both of these characters and in this author's amazing style, they came alive and pulled me from page to page! I want give anymore away because you will enjoy everything about this tale and have a heartsmile as you turn the last page. Although part of a series, this can be read as a standalone, but why would you want to do that? Read the entire series and fall into the wonderful world created by this author!! I read this through NetGallery. Lori Dykes
paul barstowe, now duke of southart, was a charming, possibly misunderstood villain in the earlier novels in this series, so in the good, the bad, and the duke he's up for redemption. and you guys, he's possibly the absolute best? i mean, i'm also clearly a huge sucker for reformed bad boys. a fact that's been well-established here. but i love a hero who is complicated and imperfect. i love that the romance is partly about how much he would do for the woman he loves. there's something heady and delightful about that. because from the moment this story opens, it's clear that paul will do what ever he can for daphne. that somehow, some way, she's caught his eye and he's never not seen her. and she sees him too. she sees his imperfections, she knows he's done wrong, but she also sees how hard he tries to make things right. how deep his sense of honor runs, and she simply can't stop herself for loving him for it. this was such an enjoyable read, i've been on a contemporary kick of late, but i really enjoyed this historical. **the good, the bad, and the duke will publish on november 27, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press in exchange for my honest review.