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The one woman he will never forget…Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only one problem—he already has one.
The one man she will never forgive…After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow cannot resist.
A love that neither can deny…The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their broken past, he can give her forever, making every day The Day of the Duchess.
ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Sarah MacLean is a genius. A complete utter genius. This story easily could have been messy given what we know of the hero from the previous books, but in MacLean’s hands, The Day of the Duchess was a poignant, and stunning story of redemption, second chances, and true love. This is exactly the sort of book that makes me believe in the power of romance, and reminds me why romance is such a popular genre.
Going into The Day of the Duchess, I was equal parts nervous and excited. Having read all of MacLean’s books, I trusted her to handle the sensitive matter of an estranged couple with a lot of hurt between them well, but there was still that tiny nagging doubt whether she would be able to redeem the hero. And redeem him she did. I hated Malcolm in the first book. Hated him. But here? Oh man … MacLean made me slowly fall AND root for the guy. Yes, he was a complete ass to Sera in the past, but he knew it and was willing to go to absolute lengths to seek her forgiveness. His utter devotion to wanting to win her back, and the obvious love he had for her was enough to melt my cold feelings towards him. No, I didn’t forgive him for what he pulled on Sera, and while I understood where he was coming from, I don’t think his actions were forgivable, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t lovable, or that he deserved to remain alone for the rest of his life. MacLean never tries to absolve him of his despicable actions, but she reminds us that you can still absolutely love a person and give them a second chance. While Malcolm was a brilliant multi-layered character who certainly caught my attention, it was Sera who was the shining star of The Day of the Duchess. She was breathtaking, strong and the bravest heroine I have ever read about. Her story was utterly heartbreaking, but this was a woman who found her strength and resilience in her weakest moments. She was a powerhouse, and I loved her so much for how she stood up to Malcolm and the rest of society, through her business endeavors.
What’s also great about The Day of the Duchess is how well MacLean handled the romance. We get to see how Sera and Mal fell for each other through flashbacks, and we also see how, where and when exactly things started to go wrong. There’s a lot of hurt, betrayal, and pain between the two, understandably so. I do love that Malcolm wasn’t easily able to win over Sera. There was a lot of groveling, and a lot of conversations about they were both in the wrong, that slowly paved the way to them falling in love again. Honestly, it was beautiful and believable, and made my heart ache in the best way possible. Sarah MacLean always writes phenomenal romances, but this is without a doubt one of her best romances. There were so many touching scenes that I want to talk about, but I won’t because these are scenes that you need to experience for yourself. Sera’s sisters, and a fun cat, also featured heavily in The Day of the Duchess and I loved them all! They added much needed humor to this story, and made it even better. I always love books about sisters that stick together, and Sera’s sisters were ready to throw Mal off a cliff if he hurt Sera.
Anyways, this was amazing, and I’m going to shut up about how great it was, so you can go read it yourself. I loved Sera. I loved Mal. And I freaking love MacLean for the stunning story she has written for these two.
DESERTED DUKE DISAVOWED!
August 19, 1836
House of Lords, Parliament
She’d left him two years, seven months ago, exactly.
Malcolm Marcus Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven looked to the tiny wooden calendar wheels inlaid into the blotter on his desk in his private office above the House of Lords.
August the nineteenth, 1836. The last day of the parliamentary session, filled with pomp and idle. And lingering memory. He spun the wheel with the six embossed upon it. Five. Four. He took a deep breath.
Get out. He heard his own words, cold and angry with betrayal, echoing with quiet menace. Don’t ever return.
He touched the wheel again. August became July. May. March.
January the nineteenth, 1834. The day she left.
His fingers moved without thought, finding comfort in the familiar click of the wheels.
April the seventeenth, 1833.
The way I feel about you . . . Her words now—soft and full of temptation. I’ve never felt anything like this.
He hadn’t, either. As though light and breath and hope had flooded the room, filling all the dark spaces. Filling his lungs and heart. And all because of her.
Until he’d discovered the truth. The truth, which had mattered so much until it hadn’t mattered at all.
Where had she gone?
The clock in the corner of the room ticked and tocked, counting the seconds until Haven was due in his seat in the hallowed main chamber of the House of Lords, where men of higher purpose and passion had sat before him for generations. His fingers played the little calendar like a virtuoso, as though they’d done this dance a hundred times before. A thousand.
And they had.
March the first, 1833. The day they met.
So, they let simply anyone become a duke, do they? No deference. Teasing and charm and pure, unadulterated beauty.
If you think dukes are bad, imagine what they accept from duchesses?
That smile. As though she’d never met another man. As though she’d never wanted to. He’d been hers the moment he’d seen that smile. Before that. Imagine, indeed.
And then it had fallen apart. He’d lost everything, and then lost her. Or perhaps it had been the reverse. Or perhaps it was all the same.
Would there ever be a time when he stopped thinking of her? Ever a date that did not remind him of her? Of the time that had stretched like an eternity since she’d left?
Where had she gone?
The clock struck eleven, heavy chimes sounding in the room, echoed by a dozen others sounding down the long, oaken corridor beyond, summoning men of longstanding name to the duty that had been theirs before they drew breath.
Haven spun the calendar wheels with force, leaving them as they lay. November the thirty-seventh, 3842. A fine date—one on which he had absolutely no chance of thinking of her.
-Print copies of THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN and A SCOT IN THE DARK, books 1 & 2 in the Scandal and Scoundrel Series (US Only