Official book description:
Cassandra Pomfret holds strong opinions she isn’t shy about voicing. But her extremely plain speaking has caused an uproar, and her exasperated father, hoping a husband will rein her in, has ruled that her beloved sister can’t marry until Cassandra does.
Now, thanks to a certain wild-living nobleman, the last shreds of Cassandra’s reputation are about to disintegrate, taking her sister’s future and her family’s good name along with them.
The Duke of Ashmont’s looks make women swoon. His character flaws are beyond counting. He’s lost a perfectly good bride through his own carelessness. He nearly killed one of his two best friends. Still, troublemaker that he is, he knows that damaging a lady’s good name isn’t sporting.
The only way to right the wrong is to marry her…and hope she doesn’t smother him in his sleep on their wedding night.
It’s been nearly three years since Ms Chase’s last historical novel was published, but thankfully, she’s proven herself worth the wait once again. I think that if I rate them against each other, A Duke in Shining Armor still has the edge, but once this book got going and the heroine and hero started bantering, I was very charmed by Ten Things I Hate About the Duke, which follows on almost immediately from the final scenes of the previous novel in the series (I suspect this would still work as a stand-alone, but why would you want to deprive yourself of the joy of reading a really good historical romance?). It also takes inspiration from Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, not to mention the excellent high school comedy 10 Things I Hate About You. One of the three Dis-graces, the Duke of Ashmont was too drunk at his own wedding to keep his bride, who ran off and ended up married to one of his best friends instead. Ashmont and Ripley fight a duel to settle things, but having been such a shambles that he first lost the regard of a nice woman, followed by almost killing his friend, forces a man to start taking a closer look at his life choices.
Before Ashmont really has too much of a chance to repent and change, however, his pity drinking causes not only an accident but nearly a high society scandal. Ashmont fires his gun in the air to break up a fight, which causes Miss Cassandra Pomfret’s carriage to run off the road. Her personal manservant Keefe (a retired jockey of great renown) is injured, Cassandra’s maidservant runs off, and leaves Cassandra entirely unchaperoned at a country inn with one of the most scandalous rakes in England. If anyone discovers what has happened, Cassandra’s already patchy reputation will be utterly ruined.
Cassandra and Ashmont knew each other as children, and Cassandra once felt infatuated with the beautiful boy that he was. Now, however, she is simply disgusted with how much he wastes his privilege and refuses to take his life and position seriously. It doesn’t help that she’s already angry, as after Cassandra publicly dared to voice her opinions in a most critical manner, her father has declared that her beautiful younger sister Hyacinth will have her season canceled, and won’t be allowed to go out or receive callers until Cassandra is married. Cassandra was on her way to visit her aunt when she was waylaid outside of London. Even with scandal looming, she refuses to leave until she knows Keefe will be well again.
Full review on my blog.