Scandal & Scoundrel #3


Sarah Maclean

It’s been a while since I read my last Historical Romance and I really missed it. The gallantry of men, the noble ladies, the unconventional heroines, the beautiful words and poetry in the story-telling, they all contribute to my love for this genre. Sarah Maclean has always been one of my favorites so it was a pleasure and an honor to receive an advanced reading copy for The Day of The Duchess. 
Malcom Marcus Bevinstoke, Duke of Haven, feels the weight of every single day since his wife left him. Or he told her to leave. Two years and seven months ago. He has been searching for her since, yearning for the woman he fell in love with all those years ago. To no avail.

Home required more than river and rolling hills. Home required her. And so he would do this summer what he had done every moment he’d been away from London for the past two years and seven months, exactly. He would search for her.

Malcom’s search comes to an end when she crashes back into his life and the last parliamentary session in the summer. And what she demands is outrageous as it is painful. A divorce.
Two years and seven months ago Sera almost died giving birth to daughter who didn’t survive. Devastated over the loss of a possible future with the man she ever loved and grieving for the child that didn’t live she accepted his callous mother’s offer to disappear from his life in exchange for a hefty sum, at the same time freeing him from a barren wife. From the woman who trapped him into marriage. 
She has come back to give them both what she thinks is best. Freedom for her to run her tavern and for him to take a new wife and produce heirs. She didn’t anticipate Malcolm’s opposition – he offers her to agree to a divorce if she spends the summer with him finding him a new wife.

The story is told jumping back and forth between past and present. Sarah Maclean leads us through the history of these two characters with skill and we get to know both hero and heroine very well. 

“Would you like to know why I kept the name?”
“Yes.” More than anything.
“Because doves mate for life, and I knew there would never be another for me.”

Malcolm is a proud aristocrat whose parents were in the same situation Seraphina put him when she trapped him into marriage – only that there was no need for her to do it. He was hers the minute they met. Being the product of a loveless marriage he didn’t want that for himself so obviously and understandably, he was immensely hurt by Sera’s betrayal.
Malcolm is an amazing character, his remorse and love for his wife is tangible in every word. I fell in love with him right away. 

“I remember, Sera. I remember the taste of you, like sunshine and peace. I remember the feel of you, heat and silk. I remember the way you gasped, stealing my breath for yourself. Stealing me. The way you offered yourself as prize. Making me believe in you. In us. Before I fell and you triumphed.”

Sera is one of the scandalous Dangerous Daughters. She never cared about not being fully accepted by society but she fell in love with the Duke and when he didn’t ask her to marry him for months she agreed to her mother’s suggestion to force his hand. Completely unnecessary. The reason for him not asking her right away were really sweet I thought. 
The book is surprisingly angsty and while I’m a sucker for the tightness in my chest when a book is really emotional I thought at some point that it went on a little bit too long. I was so ready for Malcolm’s and Sera’s Happily Ever After but the heroine was obstinately holding on to her belief that a divorce would be the best for both of them.  It was a little bit frustrating, admittedly. Mistakes were made on both sides but both of them have paid a huge price for them – it was time to wrap the story up. The last couple of chapters and the epilogue made up for that though – so beautifully written.  

“I love you,” he whispered like a prayer.
A kiss.
“I need you.”

Sarah Maclean’s prose is beautiful and lyrical. I marked so many passages in this story that made my heart sing and tighten with emotion. She is a master storyteller with a poignant writing style who captures the atmosphere of the Victorian age. I also adored Sera’s sisters, who were hilarious and standing loyally by her side. I am very much looking forward to Caleb’s and Sesily’s story!
Now I need to catch up with the other books in this series – I missed Historical Romance so much!

“No, Angel. The sorrow is mine. The regret. I never told you how much I loved you. I never showed you how I ached to know you. 

The Day of the Duchess is book 3 in the Scandal & Scoundrel series and can be read as a standalone. 

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