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The Duke Heist

by Erica Ridley

Series: Wild Wynchesters (1)

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The Wynchesters are a family of eccentric orphans adopted by a now deceased foreign royal whom they refer to as Bean. A picture of Puck and fairies embodies the relationship of the 6 orphans and their mentor. So, when it is stolen back by the Duke of Faircliffe who lost it gambling, the clan plans to steal it back.

Chole Wynchester is used to being overlooked and uses her ability to blend in to her advantage. She will quietly case the location of the painting and swap out a forgery. However, things don't go as planned and she ends up kidnapping the new Duke of Faircliffe. The two reach a pact in which the new Duke will help her enter society, and she won't ruin his chances of marrying an heiress with a large dowry to save the estate that his father has dissipated.

Of course, the two find a growing attraction, but the Duke can't see past his need for a influx of cash, not knowing that Chloe is an heiress in her own right. If he the duke can follow his heart, he may get everything.
  4leschats | Jan 5, 2022 |
In general, i really enjoy Erica Ridley. This book I think might be one of the best of hers that i have read.
The wild wynchesters were all very well characterized and most of their interactions while being over the top and ridiculous were actually a good read.

**SPOILER **
There is a deception as there always is. When the deception was revealed to the hero, instead of that deception being handled with both parties super offended, not talking to each other, huge communication gaps, created (Yawn!!) as done in most books, this was handled so much better.

Cant wait to read more of Erica Ridley and hopefully the Wynchesters
( )
  deepatarak | Jun 29, 2021 |
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

It was the visual representation of what they'd found in each other. Happiness. Unconditional love. The ability to be oneself and to be bigger than oneself---to be a team, and a family. That was the most magical part of all. The painting was their soul on canvas.

The Wynchesters might have all been adopted by a baron but society still rejects the six siblings. When their adopted father, Baron Vanderbean, affectionately called Bean, dies from small pox, it becomes even more important for them to recover Puck and Sprites. The painting hung over their mantel until it was stolen by the Duke of Faircliffe, the man who originally sold them the painting. He left an angel vase in replacement but the siblings want the painting. When efforts to speak to Lawrence Gosling, the new Duke after his father's death, keep meeting a brick wall, the Wynchesters come up with a plan, lead by Chloe Wynchester, to steal the painting back.

Chloe the Chameleon, disappearing seamlessly into the background.

The Duke Heist begins the Wild Wynchesters series with somewhat of a frenzied pace, convoluted plot, and tint of silliness. The six siblings are said to all have their special talents, the older brother is an acrobat, while our heroine Chloe can disguise herself to fade into the background, making her unmemorable allowing her to create many personas. It seems that they individually and collectively use these special talents to sneak and run around London being good Samaritans, all a little too much for me at times. This heist requires Chloe to get invited to a book talk salon hosted by the woman, Philippa, that the Duke of Faircliffe, Lawrence, is said to be courting because it's rumored that he is going to gift Philippa with Puck and Sprites. Chloe plans on switching the painting out with a forgery painted by one of her sisters and stealing the family's painting back. This plan sounds fairly straightforward but the beginning was so full of character introductions, descriptions, background, and planning that it took awhile for me to cut the wheat from the chaff.

He was conscious every day that the Gosling name teetered on the edge of respectability.

Our duke's story was more straightforward, Lawrence needs to marry an heiress to replenish the family's coffers as his wastrel father bankrupt them and embarrassed the family name. He was ridiculed in school and isolated because of his father's actions and has some social anxiety now because of his childhood. This was actually a nice tie-in with Chloe and how growing up poor she felt isolated and then becoming one of the “wild” and “scandalous” Wynchesters isolates her from ton society. Lawrence's title affords him some protection but he's only ever wanted a loving family and Chloe has the loving family but wants to be “seen” for herself. It's easy to see how these two at first clash but then fit together.

He didn't see a pseudonym or a mask or a blank slate. He saw Chloe. And he wanted her to see herself, to be herself.

Chole's plan ends up going awry when she leaves the book salon with the stolen painting, only to have the Duke in the carriage and now thinking she is abducting him to force marriage. She plays along until she gets a promise for a favor from him for not compromising him. When Chloe gets home, they look at the painting and realize it's not their exact Puck and Sprites and they have to come up with another plan. Chloe calls in her favor and tells Lawrence that she wants him to tutor her in society manners and introduce her to eligible men. This will give her and her Great-Aunt Wynchester (who is just one of her sisters in costume) access to Lawrence's home where they can find their painting and steal it. Again, this comes off a bit convoluted to get these two together and added to the slapdash overall feel to the story.

He couldn't do it. Not to her and not to himself. He would not become the devil she feared in the night. Not even for a dukedom.

For the most part, we spend a lot of time in our couple's heads, instead of action. Chloe's wanting to be “seen” is ruminated over and over and became more of the lead than the romance. There are two bedroom scenes but this had almost a Disney feel, so if you like lighter, silly, and whimsical stories set in Regency times, this could fit the bill. I found the plot to be weak, the Bow Street Runners angle and how important the angel vase was to Lawrence's father was never flushed out and then having Lawrence spout a line of thinking for 90% of the story only to have an incredible in the very next chapter one-eighty turn around without writing/showing the thinking and emotion growth to get there was disappointing. If the lighter side and other siblings interest you though, I'd take this more as a introduction to the Wynchester family and anticipate the next in the series. ( )
  WhiskeyintheJar | Mar 5, 2021 |
I am voluntarily posting an honest review after reading an advance reader copy (ARC) of this story.

The Duke Heist, by Erica Ridley, is available at booksellers on 2-9-2021. Heist is book one in a new series, The Wild Wynchesters. There is a prequel to the series called The Governess Gambit if you'd like to start there. The Wynchesters are a culled together family. Orphans taken in by a loving, childless Baron. This gives us many characters stories to look forward to in the future.

I love that the Wynchesters had an unconventional upbringing. The characters have way more fun than a typical Ton figure. They have developed special skills and use them for good. Chloe is our first heroine & she's a good start. Chloe is the de facto leader of the group. She a skilled thief & that's how she gets involved with Lawrence, he has something she wants. He's a scared guy, trying to restore the family coffers and reputation. He and Chloe seem like polar opposites but in the end are really so much alike that their HEA is a given. Quite an enjoyable read. Lets get on to book #2.

#EricaRidley #TheDukeHeist #TheWildWynchesters #Netgalley #Forever #Romance #HistoricalRomance ( )
  FDarlene491 | Feb 12, 2021 |
I received an ARC of this book to read through NetGalley. All opinions are my own. The Duke Heist by Erica Ridley is the first book in what looks to be a delightful new series The Wild Wynchesters. Except for her family, most people tend not to notice Chloe Wynchester which makes her the ideal person to retrieve a family heirloom that was stolen, until she accidentally kidnaps Lawrence Gosling, Duke of Faircliffe in the process. He definitely notices her then.
A very lonely Duke who needs to marry for money meets the most intriguing and exhilarating woman who has everything he’s ever wanted except perhaps the money means that he must chose between love and preserving his families legacy. This is a lighthearted fun romp of a book and I highly recommend reading it. Nice balance of angst, humour and steam. Steam Level: Medium. Publishing Date: February 9, 2021. #TheDukeHeist #EricaRidley #HistoricalRomance #NetGalley #RomanceSeries #ForeverGrandCentral #bookstagram #bookstagrammer ( )
  nmgski | Feb 9, 2021 |
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To anyone who has ever hoped for a place to belong
And to Roy, for everything
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Miss Chloe Wynchester burst through the door of her family's sprawling residence in semi-fashionable Islington, followed closely behind by her sister Thomasina.
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