Title: The Duke’s Accidental Wife
Author: Erica Ridley
Series: Dukes of War #7
Genre: Regency Romance
Length: Short novel
Miss Katherine Ross is a wealthy, eccentric socialite who knows precisely what she wants: No husband. No children. No candlelit tête-à-tête with the insufferably emotionless Duke of Ravenwood. She’s convinced his heart is ice — until she touches that chiseled chest for herself. One lapse in judgment is all it takes to turn both their lives topsy-turvy…
The Duke of Ravenwood isn’t cold and haughty, but a secret romantic who has always dreamt of marrying for love. Instead, he gets Miss Katherine Ross — a headstrong hoyden intent on unraveling his carefully ordered world. He doesn’t know whether to kiss her or throttle her. Can they survive each other’s company long enough to turn a compromise into love?
Source: ARC from the author via NetGalley
The final book in the Dukes of War series is an adorable tale of a rushed marriage between two very different characters. Katherine is independent and outspoken, with no intention to marry, while Ravenwood holds duty above all and can’t bear a fuss. They are total opposites, yet somehow, throughout this book they have to find their way through their difficult marriage in search of a happy ending.
I liked Kate. She’s outgoing and vivacious and doesn’t care much for propriety and society rules – she’s too busy setting up her museum and establishing a society that aims to unite emerging artistic talents (painters, actors, poets, anything) with wealthy patrons. She’s always busy, loves company and takes amazing care of her (great-)Aunt Havens, who is aging and suffering from increasing signs of dementia. I loved that side of Kate, because it shows that there is so much more to her than the shallow-seeming rich girl only interested in having a good time.
Then there’s Ravenwood. It would be easy to dismiss him as stuck up and cold, but that would be wrong. In truth he’s a shy introvert who struggles to do his duty to his title and country, and in his rare spare time writes poetry and has a secret garden. A secret garden! I think I fell in love with him for that alone. I liked how, even though his marriage to Katherine wasn’t what he had planned, and her own views on marriage definitely did not accord with his own, he didn’t punish her for it. He looked at what he had, where they were and was determined to find happiness. Okay, so he doesn’t actually do much to achieve that since he was so busy with work and living in his own world that it took him a long time to notice what Kate was doing, but I gave him points for trying.
In fact, if there’s one thing I didn’t like as much about this quiet little tale, it’s that Kate and Ravenwood don’t see a lot of each for most of it. He’s busy being the duke, she’s busy trying to become a duchess, and really the storyline is almost more about Aunt Havens and Kate’s own personal growth than it is about the romance. Much as I love Aunt Havens and seeing Kate take on the role of duchess, I much preferred the scenes where she and Ravenwood tentatively explored the marriage they ended up with. They’re very sweet together and I loved how Kate’s view of Ravenwood was constantly being challenge as she realised the truth behind the man she married.
I also think Kate’s issue around children and childbirth should have been dealt with a little more. She has valid reasons for this, but it never gets tackled. I was hoping that perhaps we might see something of Ravenwood’s various friends and their families and have Kate slowly address her fears, but instead it’s sort of swept under the carpet until other things take precedence.
Overall, though, this is a sweet, thoughtful book that perhaps lacks a bit of action, but I found it no less enjoyable for that. It’s about emotions and perceptions and a touch of self-reflection as well as marriage. It’s not flashy or showy, but the way Kate changes and grows kept my attention throughout. A little more interaction between the main characters would have been nice and it might have been nice to have seen others from the series return for a last hurrah, but in the end it’s an enjoyable end to an enjoyable series.
The Duke’s Accidental Wife is Out Now!
Visit Erica Ridley for more details.