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The Dream of a Duchess

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Make a promise if you must... but the hearts wants what the heart wants. When Lady Isabella witnesses the murder of her mother—by her father, the Earl of Craythorne—she rides off to London in search of the man her mother, Arabella, instructed she contact lest anything befall her. Directions send Isabella to the doors of The Elegant Courtesan, a high-end brothel owned by Make a promise if you must... but the hearts wants what the heart wants. When Lady Isabella witnesses the murder of her mother—by her father, the Earl of Craythorne—she rides off to London in search of the man her mother, Arabella, instructed she contact lest anything befall her. Directions send Isabella to the doors of The Elegant Courtesan, a high-end brothel owned by David Fitzwillim, Earl of Norwick, to whom she relates her gruesome tale. Stunned and heartbroken at hearing the fate of Arabella, David vows to ensure Isabella’s safety from Craythorne, and he enlists the aid of Octavius, Duke of Huntington, to provide protection and a home in the country, where she won’t be found. He would do it himself, but he’s due to marry the girl’s aunt, Lady Clarinda, and has some courting to do— his twin brother seems determined to make her his own wife. Still suffering from the loss of his wife in childbirth, Octavius has long since given up the joy he took in his race horses—choosing to ignore his stables and country estate and live in London, immersed in reading and attending sessions of Parliament. Not particularly pleased with having a ward, Octavius soon discovers Isabella’s passion for horses goes far beyond just riding them. With a new generation of racehorses in his stables, and his country estate suddenly in pristine condition, he may just experience some horse sense himself in "The Dream of a Duchess".


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Make a promise if you must... but the hearts wants what the heart wants. When Lady Isabella witnesses the murder of her mother—by her father, the Earl of Craythorne—she rides off to London in search of the man her mother, Arabella, instructed she contact lest anything befall her. Directions send Isabella to the doors of The Elegant Courtesan, a high-end brothel owned by Make a promise if you must... but the hearts wants what the heart wants. When Lady Isabella witnesses the murder of her mother—by her father, the Earl of Craythorne—she rides off to London in search of the man her mother, Arabella, instructed she contact lest anything befall her. Directions send Isabella to the doors of The Elegant Courtesan, a high-end brothel owned by David Fitzwillim, Earl of Norwick, to whom she relates her gruesome tale. Stunned and heartbroken at hearing the fate of Arabella, David vows to ensure Isabella’s safety from Craythorne, and he enlists the aid of Octavius, Duke of Huntington, to provide protection and a home in the country, where she won’t be found. He would do it himself, but he’s due to marry the girl’s aunt, Lady Clarinda, and has some courting to do— his twin brother seems determined to make her his own wife. Still suffering from the loss of his wife in childbirth, Octavius has long since given up the joy he took in his race horses—choosing to ignore his stables and country estate and live in London, immersed in reading and attending sessions of Parliament. Not particularly pleased with having a ward, Octavius soon discovers Isabella’s passion for horses goes far beyond just riding them. With a new generation of racehorses in his stables, and his country estate suddenly in pristine condition, he may just experience some horse sense himself in "The Dream of a Duchess".

30 review for The Dream of a Duchess

  1. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Rogers

    3.5 Rounded up to 4 stars Series: The Widowers of Aristocracy #1 Publication Date: 1/19/18 This well-plotted and well-written novel is very busy and basically follows two couples. This is not a steamy book, but it is sweet. The main couple is Lady Isabella Tolson and Octavius, Duke of Huntington, but I liked the romance between David Fitzwilliam, Earl of Norwick and Clarinda (Clare) Brotherton. Lady Isabella is plundering through her mother’s (Arabella) belongings and finds a very old and worn lette 3.5 Rounded up to 4 stars Series: The Widowers of Aristocracy #1 Publication Date: 1/19/18 This well-plotted and well-written novel is very busy and basically follows two couples. This is not a steamy book, but it is sweet. The main couple is Lady Isabella Tolson and Octavius, Duke of Huntington, but I liked the romance between David Fitzwilliam, Earl of Norwick and Clarinda (Clare) Brotherton. Lady Isabella is plundering through her mother’s (Arabella) belongings and finds a very old and worn letter with just a signature of ‘D’. She wonders who ‘D’ might be – because it sounds like a fairly intimate letter. She also has an old and worn calling card that her mother had given her when she told her that if anything ever happened and she needed help, to contact that person – David Fitzwilliam. Later that same afternoon, Isabella finds her father bent over her mother’s lifeless body and she’s convinced he’s murdered her. Isabella flees to London to find David Fitzwilliam. Lady Isabella ends up at the brothel, The Elegant Courtesan, owned by David Fitzwilliam. She has ridden on horseback all night, is tired and bedraggled and terrified of her father. After hearing Isabella’s story, David knows he has to hide her in order to keep her safe until he can discover the truth or until her father dies – whichever comes first. David sends an urgent message to Octavius and asks him to come to the brothel right away. After reading the entire missive, Octavius hurries out. After a discussion, they agree that the best place to hide Isabella is at the Octavius’ country estate, Huntinghurst. Since Isabella is horse-mad, it is the perfect location for her. This tale covers several years – April 1813 through the Epilogue in March 1816. There were a number of things that just aren’t Regency appropriate – or at least it didn’t seem so to me. For instance – at around the 27% mark we have the maid changing into livery, when maids didn’t wear livery – footmen wore livery and sometimes the coachmen, but not the maids. Then we have the lady asking the butler his name in conversation. There was a lot of handshaking going on. I don’t think the ladies shook hands in that period – the gentlemen probably didn’t either. We also have servants, like Mr. Jenkins using the front door and everyone referred to one of the stable hands as Master George. I’ve never heard of the seat at the head of the table (the host's seat) being called a carver – is that what it is called? I know there is a type of armed chair that is called a carver maybe that is how she was using it. Just wanted to mention a few that just didn’t seem right to me. The story seems to portray Maxwell Tolson, Earl of Craythorne as a despicable villain and I just didn’t buy that. He was a very large man who was gruff and had a temper, but he didn’t beat his family or much of anything else that I can see. He truly loved his wife and his daughter. He was betrayed in that his bride was expecting another man’s child when they married –he never knew – but he always felt she was in love with someone else. That must have been a very hard thing to live with. I loved that the story took place over a longer period of time because it should have allowed for a slow growth of affection and love. However – there were few visits between Isabella and Octavius. As you read through the story it shows long periods with no visits – but toward the end, they mentioned that he visited something like two days per month. Please check out my reviews at: Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/ Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages... Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlippinPagesRev Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbBookReview "I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher."

  2. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    This was ok. The pace is extremely slow. I like Isabella and her independence. The story is split between two couples who are connected but to me, the switching back and forth breaks the flow. The last seven chapters kind of picked up the pace but then the ending didn't convince me that Octavius really wanted Isabella as his duchess. I really liked & enjoyed Norwick & Clarinda's part in this story more. I was provided a copy by Candid Book Reviews. This was ok. The pace is extremely slow. I like Isabella and her independence. The story is split between two couples who are connected but to me, the switching back and forth breaks the flow. The last seven chapters kind of picked up the pace but then the ending didn't convince me that Octavius really wanted Isabella as his duchess. I really liked & enjoyed Norwick & Clarinda's part in this story more. I was provided a copy by Candid Book Reviews.

  3. 4 out of 5

    bell

    The Dream of the Duchess was a well written, sweet romance that had a unique plot. The Heroine , Lady Isabella, finds a strange note that was written to her mother from "D". Later that night, she see's her father standing over her mother's dead body as though he is strangling her. Afraid for her life, Lady Isabella remembers that her mother told her to seek out the Earl of Norwick if she was ever in need. Isabella runs away and goes to the brothel that the Earl owns and seeks protection from her The Dream of the Duchess was a well written, sweet romance that had a unique plot. The Heroine , Lady Isabella, finds a strange note that was written to her mother from "D". Later that night, she see's her father standing over her mother's dead body as though he is strangling her. Afraid for her life, Lady Isabella remembers that her mother told her to seek out the Earl of Norwick if she was ever in need. Isabella runs away and goes to the brothel that the Earl owns and seeks protection from her father. The Earl, who is having his own issues in regards to his twin brother and his betrothed , (who also happens to be the heroines cousin), contacts the hero, Octavius the Duke of Huntington, with hopes that he can hide the heroine at one of his estates until it is safe for her. The hero, a widow, has no real desire to remarry and is still dealing with the death of his wife and stillborn son. He decides that the heroine will be his ward and installs her at his country estate. The heroine lives there quite happily and spends her days training and caring for the stables at the Duke's estate. In the meantime, David the Earl of Norwick has been betrothed since birth to Isabella's cousin, Clarinda. Not looking forward to his wedding he has allowed his twin brother, Daniel, to secretly court Clarinda in his steed. Daniel starts to fall in love with Clarinda and hopes to marry her himself. David realizes that Daniel is secretly planning on marrying Clarinda and is determined to marry Clarinda himself. This plot has some nice twists and turns that resolve themselves quite quickly in the book. Normally, I am not someone whom likes "dual romances" I find that they can sometimes detract from the main story. Yet, Linda Rae Sande wrote the dual story line perfectly. The secondary romance added to the primary characters plot and was resolved fairly quickly so that it did not detract from the issues/romance of the main he/h . The plot was not only unique , but it didn't rely on over used tropes such as " spy", "excessive angst", "misunderstanding"or "bluestocking/wallflower". I also appreciated that the character's acted as real adults would and communicated their thoughts etc, to each other. The only negative comment's I have about the book was the ending and the length of years this story takes place. (I don't want to spoil it) so I will just state that the ending was somewhat abrupt.,( though there was an epilogue), and I felt somewhat unsatisfied in the happy ending part.. This story also takes place over a number of years and I wished the time period was somewhat shorter. The heat level - mild (some sex scenes but not descriptive) Violence- very little Disclaimer- I received this book for free in exchange for an unbiased review

  4. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Watkins

    In this first book of the series, Ms Sande has once again piqued my interest in how the rest of the books would unravel. There were, in fact, two stories intertwined, both romantic, but the story between Isabella and Octavius progressed a little more slowly than that of David and Clarinda. The book is well written with humour and some sadness and there is also a mystery to be solved. After having witnessed the death of her mother, Isabella rides through the night to David Fitzwillim on her mothe In this first book of the series, Ms Sande has once again piqued my interest in how the rest of the books would unravel. There were, in fact, two stories intertwined, both romantic, but the story between Isabella and Octavius progressed a little more slowly than that of David and Clarinda. The book is well written with humour and some sadness and there is also a mystery to be solved. After having witnessed the death of her mother, Isabella rides through the night to David Fitzwillim on her mother's instructions, to take refuge in his brothel. Not being the kind of place a lady of quality should be hiding out in, he calls in Octavius to assist him in secreting Isabella away. One has to have sympathy for Octavius as the high spirited, opinionated young lady upends his home, the servants, the stables and Octavius himself. However, despite rattling the butler's sense of proprietary, with time Isabella wins the whole household over and Octavius reconsiders his vow to his late wife. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the romance that played out between the young girl and the more mature Duke, as well as the ancillary characters. I received a copy of this book as a gift and this is my honest and voluntary review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Monica Mccaskey

    Writing improves in book 2 Having first read The Vision of a Viscountess - the second of this series - I had high expectations for this book. But I was disappointed. The Vision of a Viscountess was a gentle, slower paced but not slow read, with very likable characters and a clear plot with a natural progression. The Dream of a Duchess got off to a rough start - so many different characters, using given names, titles, nicknames, it was challenging to keep straight who was who. There was a bit too Writing improves in book 2 Having first read The Vision of a Viscountess - the second of this series - I had high expectations for this book. But I was disappointed. The Vision of a Viscountess was a gentle, slower paced but not slow read, with very likable characters and a clear plot with a natural progression. The Dream of a Duchess got off to a rough start - so many different characters, using given names, titles, nicknames, it was challenging to keep straight who was who. There was a bit too much expository writing throughout, as though the author believed everything needed to be explained in excessive detail. The timeline was also an annoying construct, and unnecessary. Sure, one of the main characters needed to grow up a bit, but that didn’t advance the story at all. Just make her the age you needed her to be and get on with the story, for heaven’s sake! And finally, the Epilogue, which pretty much was a synopsis of the entire story - which you had just read, so why did you need the author to summarize it for you? The good news is that apparently the author’s writing skills improved quite a bit between book 1 and book 2 of this series, which makes me think I will try more of her books.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Katrina Fair

    This was another fabulous regency romance from Linda Rae Sande. I love the fact that when I read a book from this author, it's not the "same ole, same ole" story line. This book had all kinds of twists and turns that made me want to keep reading to find out really what was going on and, oh my god, what was going to happen! I really enjoyed the characters. Each was unique and their personalities individually added so much to the whole story. I am also a horse fanatic and I love the unconventional This was another fabulous regency romance from Linda Rae Sande. I love the fact that when I read a book from this author, it's not the "same ole, same ole" story line. This book had all kinds of twists and turns that made me want to keep reading to find out really what was going on and, oh my god, what was going to happen! I really enjoyed the characters. Each was unique and their personalities individually added so much to the whole story. I am also a horse fanatic and I love the unconventional—voila! New favorite book. :) The end, I must warn you, will get you though—you'll be hooked and will have to read the books that come after. What could be better than a fave book? One that has not one, not two, but three books expanding on the characters I've just come to know and love. I highly recommend this book to anyone, I'm sure I'll be reading it more than once myself. :)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    This is a story of romance as much as it is a story of cowardice, lies, neglect and betrayal. Octavius is obsessed with the past. He's a nice enough guy, if a little clueless. He's kind and honorable. David is a sleazy coward with no redeeming qualities, even in the end I can't like him. Isabella is sweet, smart, determined and confident. My favorite character is actually Daniel. There's not much I can say about why I don't like the characters without ruining the story. It's not a bad storyline, This is a story of romance as much as it is a story of cowardice, lies, neglect and betrayal. Octavius is obsessed with the past. He's a nice enough guy, if a little clueless. He's kind and honorable. David is a sleazy coward with no redeeming qualities, even in the end I can't like him. Isabella is sweet, smart, determined and confident. My favorite character is actually Daniel. There's not much I can say about why I don't like the characters without ruining the story. It's not a bad storyline, it's kind of intriguing, but the timeline is very long. I still recommend it because it is interesting. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Candid Book Reviews. This is my honest and voluntary opinion of it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Hardy

    Dream of a Duchess A good read of a young girl who witnesses the murder of her mother by her cruel father. Escaping from her home she finds refuge in a brothel and then as chatelaine for an absentee widowed Duke. Her love of horses keep her sane as she lives in the depths of te countryside. Lots of drama, horses, romance and Love!!!!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Linda Rutland

    The heart wants what the heart wants. For a portion of this book I felt so sorry for Isabelle. As the tale unfolds she is content with her life isolated in a horse farm with little companionship outside her love of horses and her car of the Duke's stable of ignored horses. Lots of secrets and challenges in this book but the heart wants what the heart wants. The heart wants what the heart wants. For a portion of this book I felt so sorry for Isabelle. As the tale unfolds she is content with her life isolated in a horse farm with little companionship outside her love of horses and her car of the Duke's stable of ignored horses. Lots of secrets and challenges in this book but the heart wants what the heart wants.

  10. 4 out of 5

    InD'tale Magazine

    3.5/5.0 “The Dream of a Duchess” starts out as a fast-paced, action-packed, damsel-in-distress story. Read full review in the 2018 holiday issue of InD'tale Magazine. 3.5/5.0 “The Dream of a Duchess” starts out as a fast-paced, action-packed, damsel-in-distress story. Read full review in the 2018 holiday issue of InD'tale Magazine.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Andi G.

    Another enchanting tale designed to transport you in another time with lord and ladies, intrigue and a sweet and captivating love story. A fluid story line, interesting and lovable charaters, twist and turns all wrapped up with a true love second chance tale - this is a sure recipe to have the reader fully immersed and attention bound. I voluntarily reviewed after receiving a free copy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Mann

    Dream of a Duchess As always Linda Rae Sande does not disappoint .. I do enjoy her writings and look forward to the next one .. I do like to travel back into the times of Lords and Ladies.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    A beautiful well-written story that I could not put down I had to know what was going to happen. I am going to be looking for more books in this series. I was given a copy of this book and I am voluntarily reviewing it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Just Me

    Enjoyable read Enjoyable bit of fluff but definitely worth reading. The horse breeding theme is excellent but not the 'daughter of an aristocrat being an expert at the age of 19' storyline. That was a bit far-fetched. Needs better proofreading. Enjoyable read Enjoyable bit of fluff but definitely worth reading. The horse breeding theme is excellent but not the 'daughter of an aristocrat being an expert at the age of 19' storyline. That was a bit far-fetched. Needs better proofreading.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kay Kerkeslager

    This book was great. Loved all the characters and O am going to read the next book in the series.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn Kavanaugh

    In which the love of horses plays a large part. The book has a bit of a different twist on a typical Regency but an enjoyable one: Explicit sex.

  17. 4 out of 5

    DarkRaven Reviews

    Fantastic, extremely well written

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    i enjoyed it. good story.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Tomas

    To many characters! For some reason I couldn't get to interested in this book. Maybe too confusing,for my liking, still and all it was well written in my opinion. Thank you ❤️ To many characters! For some reason I couldn't get to interested in this book. Maybe too confusing,for my liking, still and all it was well written in my opinion. Thank you ❤️

  20. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Hutchins

    I loved the spunky protagonist and her horse savvy. The multiple points of view kept me on my toes.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Pat Babcock

    The Dream of a Duchess The plot and the development of the characters was very well written. There was intrigue and the interplay of family dynamy.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Traci

    Excellent Really great read. Different storyline. Catches you at the first page and continues to the end. Love wins out for everyone.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sylvie

  24. 4 out of 5

    bibliolatry

  25. 4 out of 5

    Janet Large

  26. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Terry

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bobbie Little

  28. 5 out of 5

    Emma-Kate

  29. 4 out of 5

    JANE BARTON

  30. 5 out of 5

    Linda Reiter

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