If the Viscount Falls
In 1817, disinherited Dominick Manton deliberately betrays his fiancée, Jane Vernon, so that she will jilt him and avoid a life of poverty. By 1829, Dom’s brother is dead and he’s the heir presumptive to the Viscountcy. Jane’s cousin Nancy, the Viscount’s widow, has disappeared, and because Dom has been associated with a detective agency, Jane seeks his help. Yet if Nancy is found and she has a male child, Dom will be disinherited once more. Will Jane be able to stand his domineering ways, and can Dom control his hidden passion for Jane long enough to find Nancy and learn his own fate?
The couple’s previous history provides a good reason to keep them apart for much of the story. But for my taste, there was too much of the MacGuffin plot of looking for Jane, and not enough romance. There’s nice imagery, like Jane as “a Hussar bent on battle,” but other passages were overwrought. At the supreme moment of a bedroom scene, a character’s experience is compared to “a carriage thundering towards the heavens,” and on another occasion, “vaulting into the sun.” Read the rest of The Duke’s Men series first to get the full story arc.