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Surprising Lord Jack by Sally MacKenzie
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Surprising Lord Jack

by Sally MacKenzie

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I love this series! I can't wait to read Ash's story. And as to who the villan was, he crossed my mind early in the book, but I dismissed him as just being a jerk. Turns out I was wrong, lol. ( )
  CarpeLibrum58 | Jun 4, 2016 |
Another fun book in the Duchess of Love series. Now that his brother Ned (Bedding Lord Ned) is engaged to be married, Jack's mother has set her sights on finding a wife for him. Desperate to escape the young ladies at his mother's Valentine's ball, Jack sets off for London. Caught in a storm, he stops at an inn where he ends up sharing the bed with a youth who has his own reasons to run.

Frances and her twin brother have been raised mostly by their aunt. Their father is a known rake who abandoned their mother. Frances's brother Frederick left the estate several years earlier and hasn't been back, preferring to live his life in London. Frances has had enough of people telling her what to do. The latest is finding out that her aunt has been scheming with a man to force Frances into marriage with him. So she is going to go to London to see her brother, get the money from her dowry and find a place of her own where she can live as she wants. She knows she can't travel alone as she is, so she cuts her hair and dresses as a boy to make the journey. Trouble comes when her horse goes lame and she ends up having to stay at an inn overnight. She wakes up the next morning with a strange man in bed with her.

This is when the fun begins. Frances actually keeps her head and doesn't panic when she wakes to find Jack there with her. An overzealous innkeeper's wife talks Jack into taking Frances with him on his way to London, despite her objections, meaning that Frances has to find a way to keep up the masquerade. Even worse, she runs into a man who knows her brother, and appears to see through her disguise. Arriving in London, there is more bad news. Her brother is no longer at his last known address, Jack finds an abandoned baby, and there is an encounter with another unpleasant man in a whorehouse. Taking the baby to a place of refuge shows Frances an unexpected side to Jack. Another encounter with the obnoxious Pettigrew opens Jack's eyes to the fact that his traveling companion is not what he thought.

Though Jack has carefully cultivated the reputation of a rake, he is actually a very honorable man. Being caught in a compromising situation with a young woman is not something he wants, as that could force a marriage he doesn't want. At twenty-six, he feels he's still too young and has too much else going on. Besides, the argumentative young woman next to him is nothing like the type of woman he has in mind. As soon as he gets to his house, he'll write to his mother, who he's sure will find a way to fix the dilemma.

Frances is equally horrified at the idea of being forced into marriage. She has no intention of ever getting married. Thanks to the influence of her aunt, and the knowledge of her father's failings, she has a very poor opinion of all men, and she has no problem saying so. Knowing Jack's reputation gives her even more of a reason to resist the idea of marrying him.

Once his mother, the Duchess of Love, arrives, she takes over management of the scandal. There aren't too many people who will go against a Duchess when it comes to social conventions. She also investigates Frances's background and finds that she has more family who would be thrilled to get to know her. Their combined efforts mitigate the scandal somewhat, and suddenly Frances is thrust into an entirely different life.

I loved seeing the way that Jack and Frances's opinions of each other began to change. Jack became more sensitive to the reasons why Frances has the opinions she does. It was rather sweet to see the way that he tried to comfort her when she was upset. It was also funny to see how he went from looking at her as the girl who tried to look like a boy to a desirable woman. He wasn't quite sure how to deal with his changing feelings. Frances was a bit obnoxious at the beginning with her all men are evil attitude. Discovering who Jack was and being aware of his reputation set her against him at once, but almost immediately she saw things that contradicted that reputation. I loved seeing her slowly begin to realize that she wants more from life and that Jack is a big part of that.

Throughout the book is the mystery of who is behind the killings of prostitutes and noblewomen of tarnished reputation. Jack is determined to find out who it is and stop him. When he gets involved with Frances he fears that the scandal will make her a target of this killer. There are several possible suspects and each one is shown to have the capability. When the final confrontation comes, Frances is in the middle of it, thanks to a stupid move on her part. I really liked the way it was resolved by something a little different than the man riding to the rescue. It also served as the final push needed to get Jack and Frances together.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the Duchess and the emphasis she placed on the importance of family. I loved seeing her bring Frances and her mother's family together and the change it made in Frances's life. I also liked the Duchess's protectiveness toward Jack and her realistic withholding of approval of Frances until she was sure that Jack wouldn't be hurt. I loved seeing her loving relationship with her husband, and the final scene with them had me laughing out loud. ( )
  scoutmomskf | Feb 12, 2016 |
I was really excited to read Surprising Lord Jack, the second in the Duchess of Love series. The first book Bedding Lord Ned is what got me addicted to this author. I love her carefree and fun style of writing. Jack is well known as a rake and scoundrel, but I knew that I would love his story, because from the previous book you see that there is a lot more to him that the image he portrays to society. It begins with Jack and Frances being thrown together and caught up in a situation that was just poor luck. Frances, wanting to escape a marriage she doesn't want, leaves her aunt and home and dresses in boy clothing, cuts her hair, and heads toward London. The last thing she expects is to be put in a scandal with Lord Jack at her side, one of the most well known rakes of the Ton. However soon she learns that beneath the rakish exterior, is a man with a purpose in life, and dreams and goals and who is honorable. I had many high expectations for Surprising Lord Jack , and for the most part I enjoyed it. I did have a difficult time getting into the story and so it took me a bit longer to read, but once I was about halfway through the story, I was hooked and couldn't put it down until I finished it, despite the fact that I had to work way early the next morning, but I was determined to find out the outcome. I found this book a enjoyable read, and a story you can relax into, and not stress too much. It had a balanced blend of witty humor and fun scenes to complete a delightful read. Definitely can't wait for the next one in the series, which I have been waiting for ever since I read the first book. Fully recommend Surprising Lord Jack. ( )
  addictofromance | Jan 1, 2015 |
Often times historical romances are fairy stories for adult women. But sometimes there are reminders that being a woman in times long since past would have been much less pleasant than now. The strictures and restrictions, the lack of choice, and the idea that women were not full citizens entitled to control their own lives remind us all how much better we have it now legally and financially. Sally MacKenzie's latest novel in the Duchess of Love series starts off with one more such reminder.

Frances Hadley has had it. After years of running her brother's estate, she overhears her money-grubbing aunt conspiring with a perfectly odious man to sell her off to him in marriage. So she decides that she'll escape to London and her wayward brother to demand control of her dowry herself. She cannot travel to London alone as a woman but she can do it disguised as a boy and so she cuts her hair, dons pants, and takes off, only to be stopped by bad weather at a small inn. Obviously young and innocent, she is given the last available room, one usually kept for members of the Valentine family. Since it is the night of the annual Valentine Ball, hosted by Venus, the Duchess of Love, no one expects a member of the family, always present for a command performance at this matchmaking ball, to need shelter. And yet, Jack Valentine, the duchess's third son, unexpectedly shows up, running away from determined debutantes looking at him with an eye to marriage. When he sees the sleeping Frances, assuming that she's a lad, he decides that he can't kick the stripling out of the room and just shares the bed.

The next morning, with Frances still in the guise of a young man heading for his brother's home in London, Jack and Frances breakfast before leaving the inn where they meet an acquaintance who might have recognized Frances as the young woman she is. But it is only on the long journey to London that the truth about Frances' sex is revealed to a very angry Jack. When her brother is no longer at the address Frances knows, Jack takes her to his home and calls in his parents, the calm Duke and Duchess of Love, to help mitigate any scandal surrounding Jack and Frances' journey. Frances is unladylike, pushy, and temperamental. She's annoyed by her inability to run her own life outside of society's dictates. Jack, meanwhile, embraces his reputation as an incorrigible rake in order to hide the fact that he funds a home for downtrodden women, children, and prostitutes to try and help them out of their horrible existence in London's poorest areas.

As the Valentine family helps Frances reconnect with her own long estranged family on the maternal side, she and Jack come to appreciate each other and the ways in which neither of them conform to what society expects of them. But in amongst all of this getting to know each other and reconnecting with family, Jack is also trying to uncover the identity of a serial killer loose in London, one who is similar to Jack the Ripper in that he targets prostitutes and those society ladies whom he has deemed immoral. And it gets personal when the rumors about Jack and Frances at the small inn come to light and Frances herself is put in danger.

Frances is an unconventional, feisty heroine and Jack is rather a paragon as a hero but they are appealing enough. The climax is not unexpected and the happily ever after is delivered just as required, making this is good book for an afternoon. However, there are some unbelievable bits given the time setting of the book. That Jack's family would immediately enfold Frances into their hearts and successfully head off the scandalous situation is pretty unlikely. There isn't a lot of dramatic tension between Jack and Frances as a couple and so the plot device of the serial killer is necessary to given the story some legs. While this may not stay with the reader long past the last page, it is a quick and enjoyable read for fans of the historical romance genre. ( )
  whitreidtan | Jul 22, 2013 |
SURPRISING LORD JACK by Sally MacKenzie is an exciting Regency Historical Romance. #2 in the "Duchess of Love",but can be read as a stand alone. See,"Bedding Lord Ned". Fast paced with danger and love. Someone is killing prostitutes and societal Ladies of the ton,who are having affairs. But love just may be in the air for Jack Valentine,the third son of the Duchess of Love, when feisty Frances Hadley enters his life dressed as a none other than a boy. Gossip can be just that, gossip with none or little truth in it. So Lord Jack must keep Frances safe from danger of not only losing her heart but her life also,when gossip runs a muck,a killer is forced into action. Now Frances' life is at stake. With romance in the air,sensual tension running a muck,and a killer on the loose to rid London of ladies of ill repute Lord Jack must work fast to save Francis and find a killer. Enter his beloved family to save the day. "Surprising Lord Jack" is filled with action,a bit of humor,lots of romance,a meddling matchmaker Mother and love. A action filled love story that will have your turning pages as Lord Jack is brought to his knees by the one thing he never expected...love. I would highly recommend "Surprising Lord Jack". Received for an honest review from the publisher and Net Galley.

RATING: 4.5

HEAT RATING: MILD

REVIEWED BY: AprilR, My Book Addiction Reviews ( )
  MyBookAddiction | Apr 12, 2013 |
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A mon agent, Jessica Faust, qui est à bien des égards, sinon la mère, du moins la marraine de la duchesse et de sa descendance.
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Miss Frances Headley, les jambes arquées, souffrant d'une douleur lancinante à chaque pas, chancela jusqu'à la porte défraîchie de l'auberge L'Etalon hardi.
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Traveling alone to London, Frances Hadley, disguising herself as a man, has to share a room at the inn with Jack Valentine, third son of the famous Duchess of Love, who is on the run from his mother's matchmaking melodrama.

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