Type: Historical Romance
My Copy: Sent
When Lady Lydia Thornton is blackmailed over the shocking contents of a manuscript she once wrote, she must go to the most desperate of measures to raise the money to buy back the ill-considered prose: agreeing to an old wager posed by the arrogant, dangerous Duke of Penthurst. At least Penthurst is a man she wouldn’t mind fleecing—and she’s confident she’ll win.
Penthurst long ago concluded Lydia was a woman in search of ruinous adventure, but even he is surprised when she arrives at his house ready to bet her innocence against his ten thousand pounds—a wager he only proposed to warn her off gambling. When she loses to a simple draw of the cards, Lydia is shocked. Now, her problems are twofold: a blackmailer determined to see her pay and a duke determined to tame her rebellious ways. One misstep and Lydia could find herself ruined—or bound to the seductive man who would make her his duchess.
This is the fourth book in the Fairbourne Quartet and the author ends on a high note. I enjoyed this book immensely; she ties up the lingering mystery that was in and out of the spotlight in these books and I enjoyed revisiting the couples to see what they are up to.
Lady Lydia has an amazing ability to win at the gaming tables, everyone knows this and although it is not thought of highly, she seems to get away with her behavior and her secret is that she usually does something good with her winnings. Unfortunately she recently has been experiencing the threat of blackmail, Algernon Trilby is a magician who received a badly written novel she wrote years ago but if taken out of context could be troublesome for her. She believes she can solve this herself but only gets in deeper as you can’t negotiate with a blackmailer.
Clayton Galbraith, Duke of Penthurst is an uptight man that holds himself above others with his behavior, he watches out for friends that get into trouble and corrects their bad behavior, even if they do not want him to interfere. This is the type of thing that gets him into trouble with Lydia as he tries to steer her away from gambling but when she accepts a bet he offered a year ago they realize they are both in over their heads. Not to mention that he is still trying to deal with a duel years ago that left a man dead, the death separated several of his friends for awhile however they are slowly getting re-acquainted.
I have enjoyed reading several books by this author, her characters are engaging and unique and she writes such creative stories and with The Accidental Mistress, she does not disappoint with this addition to the series. We met Penthurst and Lydia in previous books but they were low key and we did not get to know them much, this practice continues as I find that they are still a mystery to me in the beginning of this book.
Lydia has shut down, she used to be more outgoing and personable yet something in her recent past has caused her to retreat. We eventually learn about her heartbreak, but you get some glimpse and might guess as she is angry and does not like to be around Penthurst and is upset that her friends are forgiving him for the duel. She never confides in him and it is a bit frustrating as we watch her troubles escalate.
Penthurst is also closed off, he is very honorable and so regal in his role in life. I like how he wants to help everyone do the right thing, he is always watching out for Lydia and showing up when he thinks she is doing the wrong thing, she gets so frustrated with him when he prevents her from exacting revenge on a cheater to get the money she desperately needs.
When the two are together there is some chemistry but it is hard to cultivate the heat as she puts him off and he is so uptight that it takes an almost scandal to bring these two together. But once they give in they are perfect for each other and I enjoyed the two together.
I thought the overall mystery is solved satisfactorily, it is front and center in this story as Penthurst knew more about Lakewood than anyone else and the whys of how he died. Sometimes our childhood memories are different and it was interesting to see how Lydia’s memories changed when she went to visit the home she spent some time at. She began to piece together the events and things started to fall into place. Although this is the fourth book, it can be read as a standalone as the author does a great job of filling in the past. Overall this is a great historical romance that ends a wonderful series.
I give The Accidental Duchess by Madeline Hunter 4 stars!