Type: Historical Romance
My Copy: NetGalley
Captain Maximus Harcourt, the unconventional tenth Duke of Alderidge, can deal with tropical storms, raging seas, and the fiercest of pirates. But he’s returned home from his latest voyage to find a naked earl—quite inconveniently deceased—tied to his missing sister’s bed. And he has only one place to turn. Now he’s at the mercy of the captivating Miss Ivory Moore of Chegarre & Associates, known throughout London for smoothing over the most dire of scandals.
Miss Moore treats the crisis as though it were no more serious than a cup of spilt tea on an expensive rug. As though this sort of thing happened on the job every day. Max has never in all his life met a woman with such nerve. Her dark eyes are too wide, her mouth is too full, her cheekbones too sharp. Yet together, she’s somehow…flawless. It’s just like his love for her, imperfect, unexpected—yet absolutely true.
I am such a fan of Ms. Bowen’s, her previous series blew me away and this new one has started out the same. I love the characters she has created, the heroine is a strong woman on her own and the hero compliments her perfectly, their road to love is hard to resist.
Ivory Moore owns a business called Chegarre and Associates. They specialize in reducing scandals or getting rid of them all together. She was once a famous opera singer until she married a Duke and became the Duchess of Knightly, he was an older man and when he died his relatives would have nothing to do with her. Her husband kept amazing notes about the families of the aristocracy and knew all their secrets; she has many ledgers and keeps them up to date, using the information if needed in her business.
Max, the Duke of Alderidge, was never supposed to be a duke but many years ago his father and brothers died suddenly so he came back from his sailing duties to inherit the title, however he never felt he belonged, he was at school until 13, then set sail, never really knowing his family. He now owns his own shipping business and spends most of his time on the high seas or in India. He has not even seen his sister Beatrice at age 18, in two years.
When he does come back, he finds a society ball in progress and a Miss Ivory Moore at the house with his aunt Helen, they are trying to contain the death of the Earl of Debarry who happens to be tied to the posts of Beatrice’s bed, and she is nowhere to be found. The race is on for Ivory to prevent a scandal, for them to find Beatrice before she disappears forever and for Max and Ivory to fall in love.
I could go on and on about how much fun Ms. Bowen’s books are. She creates heroines that are intelligent, crafty, and sophisticated; they seem to be always one step ahead of the rest of the world, including the hero. True to form, Ivory has quite the entourage to help her with her subterfuge while Max is just trying to keep up.
I love Ivory, a widow who makes a living while helping others. Her husband collected many facts on others in society and she continues his ledgers along with making scandals disappear for those involved. She has an eclectic group of people working with her and I enjoy how they are as mysterious as she is and I love how she glosses over the particulars of her business, a little sleight of hand.
Max is an interesting hero; he has rarely been home, preferring to sail for far off places never feeling he fit in to the place he left behind. He tried when he first became the duke, but even his sister and aunt could not make him stay. He comes home to quite the predicament and is amazed to find Ivory ready to fix the problem, they bicker their way through questions only to find just how deep the issue really is.
The two together are magic, they are witty and fun as they try to solve the mystery of the dead earl and a missing sister all while also trying to deny the attraction they both feel for each other. The pace of the book is perfect, it starts with the unknown and continues to entice and intrigue throughout. Secondary characters play huge roles and I enjoyed meeting each one of them. There is Elise, her right hand woman and Elise’s brother Alex, who owns his own club; there is the mysterious Gil who is the middle man (woman) for communications between those that do not want to be known. Then there is King and Captain Black, both dealing in things that are not so legal. Hats off to Ms. Bowen, she excels in character development, plot and intrigue to keep me glued to my seat while shooing away those that wanted to interrupt my reading. I highly recommend this first in the series as well as her previous series The Lords of Worth.
I give Duke of My Heart by Kelly Bowen 5 stars!