Type: Historical Romance
My Copy: Sent
Fenwick Sisters Affairs, her ravishing new series of four sisters bound by fortune, romance, and scandal…. Lady Ivy Fenwick is desperate. Since her father’s fatal duel, she and her sisters have sold off every valuable possession to make ends meet. With the manor stripped bare, Ivy has one last resort: Apply as governess to the Duke of Ellsworth’s wards.
James should have known better than to hire the desirable lady who had fallen on hard times—and who tempts him at every turn. As her employer, he tries valiantly to remain noble and not let a kiss they shared as strangers years ago entice him. Yet the more he learns of Ivy’s secrets, the more he wants her. And when another suitor proves aggressive, James is confronted with a challenge: Surrender Ivy or fight for the woman he’s come to love against all odds, knowing that it takes a scoundrel to trump a scoundrel.
This is the start of a new series about four sisters who had everything to look forward to but several years ago their life came crashing down. Now they are trying to keep their family home and each must decide on their own future.
Ivy Fenwick is the oldest sister and was at her debut ball having the time of her life when their father was caught cheating and was killed in a duel. Since then, the sisters have sold almost everything to keep Fenwick Manor in the family but they are close to losing their fight and Ivy has decided that she must look for a governess position to help with finances.
James Merritt, the new Duke of Ellsworth left for the army four years ago, the night after he shared an unforgettable kiss at a masked ball. Now on his way home he notices a rundown mansion, he goes to inquire and a young woman runs from him, he is intrigued but continues on his journey. At his home he discovers his brother Curtis’ children have been dropped off by their wayward mother who is leaving with her lover while his brother is still in the army. With James now requiring a governess and Ivy needing a job, the match is made and the battle begins.
I love the premise of the story, a former debutant from a wealthy family who is trying to hold things together after her father leaves the sisters destitute. The author does a great job in introducing the series but at times I think there is almost too much going on.
I like Ivy, she is strong and does her best to keep her small family together. She decides she needs a governess position and lucky for her the local duke needs someone to watch his niece and nephew. Even though she remembers the kiss from years ago, she is willing to work for James because she knows he is bringing a mistress Elora to his home and she believes he will be busy. However they can’t seem to stay away from each other and the mistress is late in arriving.
What to say about James, it took me a long time to like him, did I ever? He is angry about having to leave the army, unsure of what to do with Curtis’ children, he is spoiled and wants everything handed to him and he is very blunt with his feelings, almost childlike. He can’t forget the kiss with Ivy and takes every opportunity to be near her while she is working which is a bit uncomfortable and after a few days he realizes that he does not want his mistress, too late, she arrives. Immediately James tells Elora it is not to be and she tells him that she has been in love with Curtis for years – complicated.
The story is convoluted from beginning to end with so much going on that at times I had to backtrack to take it all in. There are many secondary characters and several plot lines, for example each sister has the start of their own story explained, one is a writer who seems to have feelings for an actor from London, one is waiting for a boy from her past and the last has a secret that she is embarrassed about. Also there might be a treasure hidden in the mansion that Sir Oliver (the actor from London) comes to investigate causing problems for everyone. Sir Oliver is an enigma and I am unsure of how I feel about him and yet he is still there as this book ends. The story line of Elora is a mystery also, she became a mistress when her reputation was tarnished years ago, but she has always been in love with Curtis, yet there are some shady dealings involving her.
The story progresses nicely, the romance is slow because of its forbidden nature but things heat up rapidly when they decide that the two are meant for each other. The other stories are intertwined in this main story which makes for several twists and turns and the ending leaves many questions about the three sisters, Sir Oliver, Curtis and Elora. I believe that with each new book we will eventually get the answers, it just seemed like the author was trying to give us all the back stories in this book. I will definitely pick up the next book as I am intrigued enough to find out what happens.
I give Forbidden to Love the Duke by Jillian Hunter 3.25 stars!