by Laura Lee Guhrke
Series: Dear Lady Truelove #1
Published on March 28, 2017 by Avon
Genres: Adult, Historical Romance, Romance
Dear Lady Truelove . . . I have fallen in love, truly and completely in love, for the first time. The man whom I hold in such passionate regard, however, is not of my station. He is a painter, a brilliant artist. Needless to say, my family would not approve . . .
Henry, Duke of Torquil, wouldn’t be caught reading the wildly popular “Dear Lady Truelove” column, but when its advice causes his mother to embark on a scandalous elopement, an outraged Henry decides the author of this tripe must be stopped before she can ruin any more lives. Though Lady Truelove’s identity is a closely guarded secret, Henry has reason to suspect the publisher of the notorious column, beautiful and provoking Irene Deverill, is also its author.
For Irene, it’s easy to advise others to surrender to passion, but when she meets the Duke of Torquil, she soon learns that passion comes at a price. When one impulsive, spur-of-the-moment kiss pulls her into a scorching affair with Henry, it could destroy her beloved newspaper, her career, and her independence. But in the duke’s arms, surrender is so, so sweet...
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What even was this book? I mean the entire plot from the very beginning seems so far-fetched that it’s almost comical and then the characters were all up and down for me so I finished with a pretty big question mark over my head.
Irene runs a newspaper featuring quite a bit of scandal news and a column offering advice to readers much like a Dear Abby piece. Henry, a duke and head of a large family, despises scandal sheets and what does his mother do? Writes to one. And this is where I questioned the entire story.
I’m no expert on this era of history and most of my knowledge comes from, well, reading historical romances (knowing that there are liberties taken for the sake of the story, mind you) but there are a few consistent points. Primarily that women’s lives can be ruined by scandal whether it’s their marriage prospects or worse. Image is everything with the nobility. And yet the mother of a duke is writing to a paper known to publish scandal news about something that makes her easily recognizable and therefore subjecting her family — specifically her two daughters — to the scandal that will come from it.
Right off the bat I’m derailed from the story and already have doubts about it. But I kept reading because, hey, maybe the author will make it work. And she did. . . kind of.
Irene won the book over for me. She had personality, dreams for her paper, a passion for her work and a direction. She wasn’t about to let some duke come in and tell her how to do things. If it hadn’t been for her, I’d have probably put the book down, because not long after we meet Irene, Henry walks into the story and is a major jerk. He’s heavy-handed and forces himself into Irene’s life, expecting that because he’s a duke he can just demand what he wants and it will happen. And later on, he quite literally forces himself on her. While she doesn’t protest on the page, I never read anything that I’d consider consent either, AND he then gave the excuse that he “couldn’t help himself.”
Sorry not sorry, but no. That’s not how that works. I’ve seen a lack of consent from one party in historical romances pretty often but never in a way that I actively closed the book and wanted to throw it across the room.
Clearly I didn’t like Henry. Even after Irene “reformed” the brooding duke I couldn’t get past those scenes. Which made the romance less than stellar. It covered about a 3-week span though felt much longer based on the writing where the plot became drawn out too far and honestly the only reason for the story to begin with was Henry’s ridiculous actions based on even more ridiculousness from his mother.
I don’t think I can really recommend this book though I may give the sequel a try to see if it’s any better as the writing on its own wasn’t terrible. I just hope I don’t see the same problems I saw here.