The Return of His Promised Duchess by Lauri Robinson

Posted May 19, 2022 by Marsha in Booksprout ARC, Closed Bedroom Doors, Harlequin, Harlequin Historical, Standalone Single Title, Victorian Romance / 0 Comments

The duke’s Southern belle…

Causing a stir in society!

Committed bachelor Andrew, Duke of Mansfield, is content to believe the lady he’s been betrothed to since childhood will never return.

But when the American Civil War drives Annabelle from her life in Virginia to England, Andrew finds himself reluctantly captivated by her!

Luckily, she is as unwilling to wed as he is—yet when inhibitions are lowered at a masked ball, Andrew’s intrigued to know the real Annabelle…

Titles in the Southern Belles in London series include — The Return of His Promised Duchess —♥— The Making of His Marchioness —♥— Falling for His Pretend Countess —♥—

This is an adult 18+ story that may contain language, possible violence, and/or sexual situations geared to an adult audience.

Title:  The Return of His Promised Duchess
Series:  Southern Belles in London #1
Author:  Lauri Robinson
Genre:  Historical Romance
Published:  May 24, 2022
Publisher:  Harlequin Historical
My Rating:  4.5 stars

The Return of His Promised Duchess is a charming, slow-burn romance between two people betrothed in childhood.  One who knew about the betrothal and would do everything he could to avoid this arranged marriage.  And a young American woman who had no idea that she had been promised in marriage to a stranger.

When the dangers of the American Civil War approached Virginia and Annabelle’s home her father took drastic steps to keep her safe.  He arranged passage to England, and into the care of her grandfather, whom she’d never met.  Annabelle wasn’t about to leave family and friends to face the dangers of war easily.  Yet in the end, she was basically hauled onto the ship, given a special treasure box of her mother’s with the promise that she could return home once it was safe to do so.  To say that Annabelle was angry would be the understatement of the day.  From the moment she arrives in England she is determined to return home as soon as possible – and there are those here that would like to see that happen as well.

Drew had been betrothed to Annabelle in childhood.  If he had his way no marriage would ever take place between them.  And since Annabelle’s mother had run away with the child years ago and was never found, Drew believed he would never have to leave his bachelorhood behind.  Quite the surprise then when he bumped into Annabelle as she approached her grandfather’s home.  And it shouldn’t have been a further surprise when her grandfather demanded that she be sent off to Drew’s estate – since grandfather is a villain, a nasty piece of work, and doesn’t want to believe that she actually is his granddaughter.

I got swept up into The Return of His Promised Duchess so easily.  I loved Drew, he’s a gentleman to his core, a man who while he may own a mine has worked hard to improve conditions and safety measures for the men who work that mine… unlike some men of the time who took every penny possible and treated their workers deplorably.  I liked Drew, and even though he didn’t want this arranged marriage, he did nothing to undermine or threaten Annabelle while she was in his home.

I adored Annabelle.  She is a force to be reckoned with, that’s for certain.  She faced down her grandfather who obviously hoped to never, ever see her on his doorstep.  But she was unable to stop being sent to Drew’s estate.  But no matter, she’d find a way to escape and get back to her father… somehow.

Their romance was the type that I enjoy most.  Slight adversaries until they realized their end goals matched up perfectly… no marriage.  As their relationship became easier we’ll see their true personalities emerge.  I was fascinated at Annabelle’s ability to not only diagnose but treat a beloved horse’s discomfort.  Her daily devotion to Champion definitely won my heart.  As a couple they simply fit – it just took a bit of time for them to realize that fact.

The Return of His Promised Duchess brings two caring people together slowly as they get to know each other, and again, slowly begin to acknowledge their growing affections.  I loved watching them fall in love.  Their story is believable and entertaining while often giving me an unexpected chuckle at someone’s antics.  There is also danger, clues to pick up on, and realistic secondary characters who made this story come alive with details.  There were a few things that happened that I didn’t catch the hints of what was to come.  Oh, they were there I just didn’t pick up on it soon enough.  I completely enjoyed myself in this world – made me sorry that it isn’t part of a series so that I could return one day.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from Booksprout. The opinions expressed in this review are my own – good, bad, or indifferent. I was not financially compensated for this review and no expectation of a positive review was promised.*

**Release Date: May 24, 2022

Available in print or for your favorite e-reader


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