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To Love a Duchess

by Karen Ranney

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266669,867 (4.4)None
From New York Times Bestselling Author Karen Ranney comes the first book in a royally romantic and deeply emotional new series about taking risks and allowing the power to love satisfy the questions of the heart . . . Undercover as a majordomo, spy Adam Drummond has infiltrated Marsley House with one purpose only--to plunder its mysteries and gather proof that the late Duke of Marsley was an unforgivable traitor to his country. At the same time, Adam is drawn to a more beguiling puzzle: the young and still-grieving duchess--a beauty with impenetrable secrets of her own. For Drummond, uncovering them without exposing his masquerade will require the most challenging and tender moves of his career. That a servant can arouse such passion in her is too shocking for Suzanne Whitcomb, Duchess of Marsley, to consider. Yet nothing quickens her pulse like Drummond's touch. It's been two years since the duke lost his life in a tragic accident--and even longer since she's been treated like a woman. But when Drummond's real mission is revealed, and the truth behind Suzanne's grief comes to light, every secret conspired to tear them apart is nothing compared to the love that can hold them together.… (more)



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My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Adam Drummond is a spy and his latest assignment is the Marsley House as it is thought that the late Duke of Marsley was a traitor. He is acting as majordomo in the house and his objective is to gather as much information as possible. Adam is distracted rather quickly, however, as he has more than one run-in with the widow, who is still a young woman. The thing is that she is heavily-grieving, even after two years. As time progresses, Adam realizes that the duchess, Suzanne Whitcomb has secrets of her own and this is concerning to Adam.

Suzanne may be drawn to Adam, man in charge of her house, but she is also a bit annoyed, and for more than one reason. For starters, he is a servant, and she is a duchess. More importantly, she is still devasted by her losses. However, there is just something about Adam that makes Suzanne wonder more than once. Both Suzanne and Adam receive equal shock eventually. Adam because he learns the true reason for her grief. Suzanne because she learns his true purpose.

While Adam is working hard, Suzanne has her own battles to fight. Not only does she have to deal with her controlling father, but she is also dealing with a recalcitrant maid. This could definitely lead to her undoing. But, she doesn't see that. All she can see is her pain and getting through each day, even if she is not really living. I so love when she wakes up!

To Love a Duchess is the first book in the All for Love series, and I think this is a terrific start. I found this to be a very emotional read, especially where Suzanne’s grief originated. It certainly was very touching, especially when I got to read Adam’s reaction to this, and how he shared his own past with her. With Adam’s role as a spy, there was a measure of mystery in the book. The more clues that Adam unraveled, the more difficult things became. This added a very nice layer to an otherwise engaging romance.

I look forward to continuing this series this week, with To Wed an Heiress, scheduled for publication March 26, 2019.

Please see all of my reviews on my blog at www.robinlovesreading.com ( )
  RobinLovesReading | Oct 25, 2019 |
Good book with a different kind of romantic pairing. In this case, we have a commoner hero and titled heroine. Suzanne is the Duchess of Marsley. Her husband had died two years earlier, and since then she has just been going through the motions of daily life. When her father orders her to act as hostess for him, she does it, no questions asked. When her maid gives her a "tonic," she takes it. She goes through her days feeling detached from everything around her. Then an encounter with her majordomo shakes her out of her apathy.

Adam is a former soldier who now works for the War Department's Silent Service. His current assignment is to go undercover to Marsley House as the majordomo. This gives him the opportunity to search the house for evidence that the late duke was a traitor to his country. Everything was going smoothly, if slowly, until the duchess returned to London from her country home. He doesn't expect to be intrigued by and protective of the lovely widow.

I enjoyed the development of the relationship between Adam and Suzanne. It began with a bang, as Adam stopped her from what he thought was a suicide attempt. There were sparks of attraction from the start. Those sparks lit the fire in Suzanne that helped her break out of the daze she had been in. Both Adam and Suzanne are intrigued by the other and find it impossible to stay away. I loved Adam's protectiveness and how he took care of her when she was hurting. His sympathy and understanding when he found out the reason for the depth of her grief was one more thing that helped Suzanne break out of her fog. I loved seeing him support her as she began to take back control of her life. Suzanne was just as intrigued by Adam and found herself taking every chance she could to spend time with him. The feelings between them grew stronger the more time they spent together. I loved the fact that Adam told Suzanne the truth about why he was there and then listened to what she had to say afterward. I ached for him as he walked away at the end, believing that there was no chance for a future with Suzanne. I loved seeing her go after what she wanted, in spite of the obstacles before her. I hope we see more of them in later books.

The mystery of the missing journal and the guilt or innocence of the late duke was very interesting. With Adam's experiences in India and his knowledge of the duke's activities, Adam was convinced of the duke's guilt. This case was personal for him and gave him extra motivation to complete it. There were times when I felt that it blinded Adam to other possibilities. That changed as he got to know Suzanne, and questions were raised in his mind. There were some interesting twists and turns that came out once Adam and Suzanne began to work together to find the truth. The revelations at the end had some unexpected elements as well as confirming a couple of my suspicions. ( )
  scoutmomskf | Oct 12, 2018 |
Owned book ... not a review copy. Karen Raney never fails to tell an engrossing story. Quite steamy with mystery and spies and nasty villains. Well written characters. I very much enjoyed it. ( )
  nmgski | Aug 4, 2018 |
A new series from Karen Ranney--woot!

I loved Suzanne and Adam's story. It went in many directions I wasn't really expecting, which made reading it feel anything but ordinary. I spent a lot of the book not knowing things--why was Suzanne so sad? What was that tonic she was drinking, and who wanted her to drink it (and why)? Was Adam going after the right culprit as he searched for evidence of a traitor? Was he truly working for the good guys? Were there good guys?

Overall. the story had a much darker feel than I was expecting, and for much of the book I wasn't sure what to make of that. But the characters of Suzanne and Adam drew me in to their lives, and before I knew it I was 100% invested. I don't know a thing yet about the next book in the series other than the title ( To Wed an Heiress ), but you'd better believe it was on my TBR as soon as I knew it existed!

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book. ( )
  beckymmoe | Aug 2, 2018 |
This is a lovely read that is emotional and compelling. It is well paced, well plotted, and well written. The characters are fully three-dimensional and very likable and relatable. It is also very sad and melancholy in its telling of grief, despair, and loss.

Suzanne Whitcomb, the Duchess of Marsley, is merely existing. There is no joy, no happiness, no goodness – just nothing left in her life. All that mattered in her life died two years ago in a terrible accident. She just complies with everything now – her father orders her to attend a function and act as hostess – she does it – no questions, no arguments. Her disagreeable maid orders her to take her potion – she takes it – even though it makes her feel strange and her mind feels fuzzy.

Adam Drummond is a spy – a member of the Silent Service. He joined the army when he was just a small boy and he was grateful to have done it. He’d been born and raised in a tenement in Glasgow, so the army providing food, safety and warmth were more than he’d ever had. He’d become a decorated hero and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. He’d also lost his wife six years ago in a terrible, terrible attack. He’d left the army and joined a new part of the War Department called the Silent Service.

Adam’s latest assignment was different than any he’d had before. He was undercover as the majordomo at the home of a duke that the War Office had reason to believe was a traitor. It was Adam’s task to find the proof and he was determined to complete his mission successfully because he thoroughly despised that particular duke and he was sure that the War Office was correct in believing the duke to be a traitor. It didn’t matter that the duke was now dead. What mattered was finding justice for all those deaths that he was sure the duke had caused.

What Adam doesn’t count on is the very sad, grieving duchess. How can such a lovely creature be so mournful over such a dastardly man? She seems haunted – and sometimes she doesn’t seem to be totally there. Does she drink? As the weeks move on and they have more and more interactions, he learns her story and is more and more attracted to her. He knows, of course, that a boy born in a Glasgow tenement cannot have a duchess. However, the attraction is mutual and as the case comes to an end – he can hardly say goodbye.

I love how he actually listens to her, to her opinions and then believes her. I also love how she comes to trust him and always feels safe around him. Their journey into love and an HEA is a lovely thing.

Please check out my reviews at:
Blog: https://flippinpages.blog/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/flippinpages...
Twitter: https://twitter.com/FlippinPagesRev
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BarbBookReview

"I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher. ( )
  BarbaraRogers | Jul 12, 2018 |
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