Confessions of a Duchess by Nicola Cornick

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Confessions of a Duchess by Nicola Cornick

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Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Katie Pullen
Reviewed by Katie Pullen
Summary: Dowager Duchess Laura Cole and rogue Dexter Anstruther are determined to resist the passion they still feel for one another after a steamy encounter four years ago, but life in the village of Fortune’s Folly means they are never far apart from each other. A great premise for a regency romance, unfortunately let down by a weak plot and just a little too much passion for this reviewer.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 384 Date: June 2010
Publisher: MIRA Book
ISBN: 978-0778303800

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Dowager Duchess Laura Cole has come to the village of Fortune’s Folly to live a quiet life as a widow with her young daughter. But when the village squire decides to invoke the Dames’ Tax, a law requiring every unmarried woman to give up half her wealth to him, the town becomes a hotbed of men searching for heiresses now desperate to marry. Joining the men is Dexter Anstruther, sent to secure a rich wife and carry out a murder inquiry on behalf of Lord Liverpool. The last thing Laura and Dexter expect is to see each other again after their steamy encounter four years ago. But their passion for each other is reawakened and looks set to ruin them both.

There are some books you love and some you hate, and then there are the ones that are somewhere in the middle, and disappointingly this first in a series from Nicola Cornick falls into that category. Maybe I am lacking in passion for this book because I have spent the last few days on and off reading about nothing but passion. It’s a wonder the characters in this book ever get anything done! Laura and Dexter are completely consumed with how they feel about each other, wondering what the other is thinking and finding each other hard to resist, yet must do so to protect themselves and keep to their moral and social responsibilities. What we end up with is a lot of smouldering tension and electricity whenever the two meet and indeed some bodice ripping encounters as you would expect. To be fair it’s all quite convincing, but there was just so much of it, that I started to get a bit bored and found I had to re-read a few passages as my mind had wandered. To add to my frustration Cornick also has no qualms about repeating herself on the passion front, insisting on telling us again and again how Laura and Dexter feel about each other.

The plot itself is amusingly daft as the ladies of Fortune’s Folly, led by the fiercely independent Laura, are quick to move against the squire and his reinstatement of the Dames’ tax. These scenes provide some comic relief as we watch the sexes do battle, but that's about it as the plot becomes lost in the Laura/Dexter story. Dexter's mission to investigate a murder also adds a bit of depth to all the lust and heated fervour going on but unfortunately also gets rather forgotten about for the majority of the novel.

As for Laura and Dexter, like their story, I feel fairly ambivalent about them both. Laura is quite admirable in some regards with her headstrong and independent ways and determination never to be controlled by a man, but that's about all there is to her, well apart from her libido, which she is well acquainted with. As for Dexter at first I thought ooh a Mr Darcy type all brooding and sexy, especially as he gets rather wet in one of the first scenes and a little over excited if you catch my drift. But underneath is of course the exact opposite which I felt was perhaps a little bit of a cliché, but if he’d been a rogue I wouldn’t have liked that much either.

Surprisingly I did enjoy this novel to some degree and even found myself giggling at some scenes, particularly those involving the Dames’ tax and I really wish this and the other subplot had been developed further to give the reader a bit of a break from all that hot and fiery passion. However, it is all good escapist fun in the main and very readable, just don’t expect too much from it and you’ll probably enjoy it more than I did.

I’d like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag. Further Reading Suggestion: If you like the sound of this book you may also enjoy ‘’Improper Relations by Janet Mullany or Duchess by Night by Eloisa James.

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