Type: Historical Romance
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
My Copy: NetGalley
Three intrepid princesses find themselves targets in a deadly plot against the crown – until their uncle devises a brilliant plan to keep them safe… England, 1888.
Quiet and scholarly Princess Emilie has always avoided adventure, until she’s forced to disguise herself as a tutor in the household of the imposing Duke of Ashland, a former soldier disfigured in battle and abandoned by his wife. When chance draws her into a secret liaison with the duke, Emilie can’t resist the opportunity to learn what lies behind his forbidding mask, and find out what adventure really means… The duke never imagines that his son’s tutor and his mysterious golden-haired beauty are one and the same. But when the true identity of his lover is laid bare, Moreland must face the demons in his past in order to safeguard both his lady – and his heart.
The Duke of Olympia is the uncle of three young women, most recently princesses from a Principality in Germany, Holstein-Schweinwald-Huhnhof. These three are about to go into hiding with Olympia’s help as their home has been in turmoil since their father and Luisa’s husband were both murdered. Luisa is now the Crown Princess however with an abduction recently foiled they are all in danger.
Emilie, Stefanie and Luisa have escaped with their governess Mrs. Dingleby, to London and Olympia has been expecting them with plans already in motion. They are to disguise themselves as young men and he will see they are employed to hide them until they find out who murdered their father and who wants to do them harm.
Emilie is the middle princess and has always been bookish, she never liked being a princess and as soon as she could she was going to find a way to live a quiet life in the country. She is disguised as Mr. Grimsby, a young tutor with impeccable references from Olympia.
The Duke of Ashland lives in Yorkshire and is in need of a tutor for his sixteen year old son, Freddie. Ashland was the youngest son and never expected to inherit the title yet several unexpected things happened to change his life forever and twelve years ago he come home from the war a disfigured man. His wife left both him and Freddie soon after he returned, he does not know where she is and she did not leave alone.
As Emilie settles in she and Freddie get along quite well and she forms a nice friendship with Ashland as they spend many nights in the library talking or playing chess. On her day off she gets the chance to meet Mrs. Dingleby to exchange letters with her sisters, meeting at a local hotel. After Mrs. Dingleby leaves, Emilie hears Ashland in another room and goes to investigate. He has a standing once a month meeting with a women he hires, yet on this night she does not show, Emilie is mistaken for the woman and goes to his room. He is intrigued with her but Emilie does not know what to make of him, as he just wants her to read to him. He asks her to come back each week and eventually their reading turns into much more.
One fateful night when Emilie is coming home, she meets Freddie outside and although he has been drinking he sees her without the beard and in the morning recognizes her as one of the princesses in the news. Not only has Freddie realizes who she is, another in the area knows about her and she is now in danger.
What a great story, Olympia is a wonderful protective uncle that seems to have all the answers, yet we are still not sure what his motives are, and then there is Mrs. Dingleby, hmmm she is an enigma and I can’t wait until I hear more about her, is she good or evil? The premise of the story is wonderful, three missing princesses who are in danger and need to hide. What better way than to disguise them as men and place them with people Olympia knows and trusts yet not enough to tell them the truth. The danger surrounds them as they wait to find out who is after them and who killed their father.
Emilie is a wonderful heroine, a quiet beauty with brains and spunk that gets her out of several predicaments. She is great with Freddie who I liked immensely as the bright son of Ashland who at first just believes his father wants to get rid of him yet realizes that he and his father have a great relationship, they just needed another to help them see it.
And Ashland is just as great, a man who has been hurting for years from the time he came home when his wife left him, to others not seeing beyond the scars. The relationship between Emilie and Ashland works well and I loved the chemistry between them, the scenes in the hotel sizzle. I do wish we could have learned more about what happened with his wife, we find out that she left with another, but was it because he came home disfigured or was she with another even before he came home? I am intrigued with the other two sister’s stories and look forward to learning more and I love that the story arc will continue as we find out who to trust and who is trying to harm the princesses.
I give How to Tame Your Duke by Juliana Gray 4.5 stars!