The Illegitimate Duke

Written by Sophie Barnes
Review by Monica E. Spence

1818. Lady Juliette Matthews is not just a pretty face with a recent fortune at her disposal: she wants to fund assistance for those ailing during London’s nascent typhus epidemic. Doctor Florian Lowell dreads having been named his ducal uncle’s heir, as much as he dreads the revelation of a secret from his past. He prefers to use his time, talents and funds to treat those infected with typhus, and prevent the spread of the disease from the St. Giles area, where Juliette was once raised in poverty, to the whole of London.

Juliette and Florian fight not only their attraction, but one another in their dissimilar approaches to halting the epidemic. How many people will die if they cannot work together for the greater good? Will London be infected with a full-blown typhus pandemic? The gravity of the medical subplot adds thought-provoking depth to this romance between two good people with greater aspirations than those expected by society. Florian’s secret may be inconsequential in our modern era, but it defines the villain as a truly detestable character in any time period. Enjoyable.