Geri’s Review+Excerpt: The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean

THE DAY OF THE DUCHESS
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel #3
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Sarah MacLean
Release Date: June 27, 2017

The one woman he will never forget…

Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only one problem—he already has one.

The one man she will never forgive…

After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow cannot resist.

A love that neither can deny…

The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their broken past, he can give her forever, making every day…

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Chapter 1
DESERTED DUKE DISAVOWED!
August 19, 1836
House of Lords, ParliamentShe’d left him two years, seven months ago, exactly.
Malcolm Marcus Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven looked to the tiny wooden calendar wheels inlaid into the blotter on his desk in his private office above the House of Lords.
August the nineteenth, 1836. The last day of the parliamentary session, filled with pomp and idle. And lingering memory. He spun the wheel with the six embossed upon it. Five. Four. He took a deep breath.
Get out. He heard his own words, cold and angry with betrayal, echoing with quiet menace. Don’t ever return.
He touched the wheel again. August became July. May. March.
January the nineteenth, 1834. The day she left.
His fingers moved without thought, finding comfort in the familiar click of the wheels.
April the seventeenth, 1833.
The way I feel about you . . . Her words now—soft and full of temptation. I’ve never felt anything like this.
He hadn’t, either. As though light and breath and hope had flooded the room, filling all the dark spaces. Filling his lungs and heart. And all because of her.
Until he’d discovered the truth. The truth, which had mattered so much until it hadn’t mattered at all.
Where had she gone?
The clock in the corner of the room ticked and tocked, counting the seconds until Haven was due in his seat in the hallowed main chamber of the House of Lords, where men of higher purpose and passion had sat before him for generations. His fingers played the little calendar like a virtuoso, as though they’d done this dance a hundred times before. A thousand.
And they had.
March the first, 1833. The day they met.
So, they let simply anyone become a duke, do they? No deference. Teasing and charm and pure, unadulterated beauty.
If you think dukes are bad, imagine what they accept from duchesses?
That smile. As though she’d never met another man. As though she’d never wanted to. He’d been hers the moment he’d seen that smile. Before that. Imagine, indeed.
And then it had fallen apart. He’d lost everything, and then lost her. Or perhaps it had been the reverse. Or perhaps it was all the same.
Would there ever be a time when he stopped thinking of her? Ever a date that did not remind him of her? Of the time that had stretched like an eternity since she’d left?
Where had she gone?
The clock struck eleven, heavy chimes sounding in the room, echoed by a dozen others sounding down the long, oaken corridor beyond, summoning men of longstanding name to the duty that had been theirs before they drew breath.
Haven spun the calendar wheels with force, leaving them as they lay. November the thirty-seventh, 3842. A fine date—one on which he had absolutely no chance of thinking of her.

Tell me, Seraphina. If there were no one—no sisters or god or goddess to protect, no American, no aristocracy to watch and judge? What would you do if I pursued you?”

The Day of the Duchess is one of those books that makes me go, “This is the reason why I read romance!” Does it have a healthy dose of angst? Yes, it does. It also has one of the best grovels I’ve read in a while. The satisfying ending was worth every single heartache I, and the characters, went through. And every emotional moment in this book was earned.

Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, is back from exile with a single mission: get a divorce from her estranged husband, Malcolm Bevingstoke. The Duke however won’t let her go without a fight. He has regretted his actions in the past and is willing to do anything to win his wife back. But he has to contend with a lot of obstacles before he can even begin to fix what he broke years ago. So he concocted a crazy plan. Ask Sera to accompany him on his estate to help him choose her replacement and then she’ll get her divorce.

It’s a crazy plan from a man who’s desperate to win back his wife and atone for his sins in the past. What he didn’t know is Seraphina is desperate, too. But for different reasons. And it’s something that I totally could relate to. It’s something that we take for granted now but was totally not an option for women back then. And this is important to the story and to Sera’s character arc and it made me understand her motivation and sympathize with her.

I have dreamed of you here. Look up. Look at us. Look at how beautiful you are. Watch how I worship you.”

The tension between them was unmistakable. These are two people who clearly still love each other desperately but are so desperately broken that they can’t see beyond their own pain. Sarah MacLean did a phenomenal job at writing both of these characters at their darkest moments. They both made mistakes. Malcolm’s transgression would have been a deal breaker for me if not for the fact that the author was able to convince me that he truly regretted his actions. And some of his actions were not immediately known to Sera. She didn’t know what he’s done to make it up to her after she left.

And that’s one of the beauty of this book. I went through it knowing that these two are still desperately in love and that they deserved each other. I want them to work out their issues because them not being together would be a tragedy. But man, did they have to work for it.

But she remembered every note, every word, as though it were a prayer. And perhaps it was. Perhaps she could exorcise the past with it.

I mentioned above how much the satisfying ending was so earned. And this is the reason why. Both characters had to find a common ground first before they could even move on.

I don’t blame Sera for not trusting Malcolm at his word. What she went through was heart-wrenching. At the same time, as much as I hated what Malcolm did, it was impossible not to be moved by how genuinely sorry he was for the past. And he suffered as well. I loved, LOVED how their relationship evolved.

I shall have to be happy with finding you in the stars, at night.”

Apart from Sera and Malcolm, the Day of the Duchess are full of interesting characters. Of course, Sera’s sisters, the Soiled S’s are by the far the most interesting ones. But there were characters here who really stood out as well. Caleb and the ladies that were supposed to vie for the title of the next Duchess of Haven were charming and wonderful. I’m so looking forward to reading Caleb’s book. I won’t tell you his potential partner. You’d have to read this book to find out. But man, that’s going to be another angsty one for sure.

Overall, I LOVED this book. The romance was just top-notch. And the grovel…*swoon* It took me quite a bit of time to recover after I finished it because it was that good. Well done, Ms. MacLean. Well done!

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Comments

  1. Allisia with Tasty Book Tours says:

    Thank you for reviewing today! Have a happy 4th of July!

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