Born a commoner, Hannah Reid has been Duchess of Dunbarton since she was nineteen years old. Now her husband is dead and, more beautiful than ever at thirty, Hannah has her freedom at last. To the shock of a conventional friend, she announces her intention to take a lover—and not just any lover, but the most dangerous and delicious man in all of upper-class England: Constantine Huxtable.
So this book bored me to tears. I know that Mary Balogh is a beloved author, with a legion of fans, however I don’t get the appeal. I’ve only read a few of her books, and none of them have really been to my liking. I picked this one up at a garage sale quite awhile ago, and just got around to reading it, not realizing it was part of a series. It’s number five of the Huxtable Quintet, which I have not read. There were some characters making an appearance that I had no clue about, nor really cared about at any rate.
Our main couple is Hannah, widow of the Duke of Dunbarton; and Constantine Huxtable, an illegitimate son of an Earl. Constantine is described as a darkly sinful sensualist who prefers to pick a mistress for the season (always widows) and then part ways and move on to someone else. Hannah believes he will be the perfect man to take as her first lover, now that she is out of mourning. She sets her trap for him, playing a flirtatious game which he of course sees right through and refuses to play along with her. In due time, they reach a mutual understanding and their affair begins. Each of them knows what they out of the relationship, merely to satisfy their sexual urges…and then things change and it becomes more than that.
I just didn’t care about either of these two people. Hannah seemed superficial and rather vain, very much the Ice Queen she was regarded as. Con is the typical rake, with a soft heart who just needed the right woman to come along. In fact, there are so many of the usual plot devices, it’s like Ms Balogh was trying to hit them all – cute babies, pregnant women, happy family members from other books, and the list goes on. To be honest, I skimmed much of the last half of the book, just to get through it. Maybe Ms Balogh has other books out there that are better, but she’s just not doing it for me.