The Duke’s Disaster
More than most Regency authors, Burrowes probes the darkness behind the glittering façade of wealth and privilege among the aristocracy. The Captive Hearts series focuses on the after-effects of war upon returning soldiers, and this particular romance upon rape, and the vulnerable situation of dependent women, even well-born ones.
Despite his confession, when he proposes that he is “not a nice man,” Noah, the Duke of Anselm, is actually surprisingly considerate and very fond of the females in his family, even his cat. Thea’s problem is less his daunting practicality and disconcerting habits, than that she is no longer a virgin, as the duke discovers on their wedding night. He, however, responds better than she expected and, with patience and understanding, eventually they achieve the happy marriage both deserve. The gradual revelation of her innocence, and the progression from wary companionship to true love, is handled adroitly.
Burrowes has a fine control of subtle irony, and the interaction between two attractive characters is lively and enjoyable. Apart from an unfortunate lapse into melodrama at the climax, the romance is skillfully structured and elegantly written. Definitely recommended.