Would I Lie to the Duke: The Union of the Rakes
Jessica McGale is a farmer’s daughter and lady’s companion, but she aspires to more, primarily the rescue of McGale and McGale, her family’s soap-making enterprise in Wiltshire which was devastated by a fire. The product is good, but to meet demand they need financing to rebuild. After initial rejections, she concocts a risky scheme, passing herself off as the widowed Lady Whitfield to get access to wealthy aristocratic investors. She is making good progress, and a handsome duke is falling in love with her, but then her employer returns from a trip to the continent. When her subterfuge is exposed, how will her investors react? And the duke? Though it was her financial acumen that first attracted Noel, Duke of Rotherby, her beauty and independent attitude soon captivate him. But will he forgive her deception?
This is a variation on the Cinderella story with insights into the challenges facing businesses in the class-conscious Regency era. The action is involving, but the space devoted to the protracted sexual encounters and to Jess’s feelings of guilt over her duplicity do slow down the pace. Recommended, nonetheless.