by Manda Collins
Published Date: January 31st 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
What’s a wallflower to do when she’s suddenly in need of a husband? Use all the pluck and moxie she can muster to get what she wants…Review courtesy of netGalley
Miss Cecily Hurston would much rather explore the antiquities of Egypt than the uncharted territory of marriage. But the rules of her father’s exclusive academic society forbid her entrance unless she weds one of its members. To clear her ailing father’s name of a scandalous rumor, Cecily needs to gain admission into the Egyptian Club—and is willing to marry any old dullard to do it.
Lucas Dalton, Duke of Winterson, is anything but dull. He’s a dashing and decorated war hero determined to help Cecily—even if that means looking the other way when she claims the dance card of Amelia Snow, this season’s most sought-after beauty. But Lucas has a reason for wanting Cecily to join the Egyptian Club: His brother went missing during one of Lord Hurston’s expeditions to Egypt. An alliance with the explorer’s bluestocking daughter could bring Lucas closer to the truth about what happened…or it could lead him to a more dangerous love than either he or Cecily could have imagined…
Her writing in some ways reminded me of Julia Quinn, more for her quick oneliners. I found myself chuckling out loud. I enjoyed the way her writing amused me all the way through, and the same time she was able to spin a mystery which kept me guessing . I thought I knew who was behind it and she proved me wrong. It was thrilling to see everything unfold and surprised me to find out who the “villain” was.
The heroine, Cecily, is strong willed and well educated; she is a woman to speak her mind. She is “a woman trying to live in a man’s world”. I was able to relate to that. She wasn’t interested in “the season”, she was more interested in knowledge. She was ridiculed for her bluestocking tendencies, but that didn’t faze her, she had more on her mind that “flounces and ruffles.” She, like me, is a problem solver, and once given a problem she would do whatever it takes to solve it. In this case, she needs to prove her father’s innocence and the only way to do that was from her father’s journals, to get them she needed to get into the Egyptian Club and to get in she needed a “husband”.
The hero, Lucas, the Duke, had the boy next door personality. I think the moment I fell in love with Lucas, was when he was chatting with his mother about his "childhood habits". I just felt the love he had for her coming off the pages. You can always tell how a man is going to treat a woman, by how he treats his momma. Lucas was also on a mission, he needed the journals to find out what happened to his missing brother, and to do this he needed the help from Cecily. The two partnered up, he agreed to find her “a husband” and she agreed to help find out what happened to his brother. But Lucas had a hard time dealing with the another man with “his Amazon”.
The attraction between the two was instantaneous, but it wasn’t going to be easy. Cecily had been burned before and has put her guard up from allowing her affection for Lucas to turn into anything stronger. It was a fun to watch Lucas trying to convince Cecily that he was not going to hurt her, that his feelings were true.
“Why on earth do you even care?”Although there were chuckles along the way, I did tear up a few times, my heart broke for vulnerable side of Lucas when he was telling the story of his “pesky” younger brother begging for a pony ride. All the characters were well written, the secondary characters helped tell the story, they added depth to the hero and heroine. Although the underlying story was solving the mystery, the best part for me was seeing the relationship between Cecily and Lucas blossom, it was a true romance story.
“Because I love you, dammit!” …
“I’m afraid you can’t stop me, Duchess,” he said softly. “I will love you whether you allow me to or not.”
This is a must have, must buy book!! Manda Collins has debuted a wonderful book filled with mystery and romance and if this is just her debut we are in for many great books to come!! I am anticipating the next release in this trilogy, "How To Romance A Rake."
I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.