The Duke’s Accidental Wife (Dukes of War #7) by Erica Ridley

The Duke's Accidental Wife
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Miss Katherine Ross is a wealthy, eccentric socialite who knows precisely what she wants: No husband. No children. No candlelit tête-à-tête with the insufferably emotionless Duke of Ravenwood. She’s convinced his heart is ice — until she touches that chiseled chest for herself. One lapse in judgment is all it takes to turn both their lives topsy-turvy…

The Duke of Ravenwood isn’t cold and haughty, but a secret romantic who has always dreamt of marrying for love. Instead, he gets Miss Katherine Ross — a headstrong hoyden intent on unraveling his carefully ordered world. He doesn’t know whether to kiss her or throttle her. Can they survive each other’s company long enough to turn a compromise into love?

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Publisher and Release Date: Intrepid Reads March 2016
RHR Classifications:
Time and setting: London, 1816
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 stars

Review by Lady Cicely

Lawrence Pembrook, Duke of Ravenwood, dislikes crowds. What an understatement – he despises crowds, a fact that sees him rarely attending society functions and avoiding interaction with anyone as far as possible on the rare occasions he does. This trait has led one beautiful hoyden to nickname him the “Frost King”. He’s very aware of his responsibilities and takes his duties very seriously; but his greatest desire is to be treated as a man, not a title.

Miss Katherine (Kate) Ross is dreadfully afraid of marriage. Marriage equates to the loss of freedom, and that, added to the fear that she could die during childbirth have fueled her desire to remain a spinster, a state she has worked hard to accomplish. Being unwed has allowed her freedom to open her beloved antiquities museum and associate with members of the arts and theatre crowd.

Ambushed by a trio of ladies consisting of his sister, the wife of a dear friend and the one woman he cannot abide, Miss Katherine Ross, Ravenwood reluctantly agrees to appear at a charity art function to be hosted at Kate’s museum. He knows his appearance will attract a large crowd thereby ensuring large donations for the charity and, as expected, the event is indeed a huge success.

Having Ravenwood ignore her after making eye contact has piqued Kate’s ire. Being ignored by the “Frost King” at her own event just will not do and she goes in search of him. Finding him in the storeroom, where he has retreated for a moment of peace, she invites him “into her lair” – knowing he will not follow. But Ravenwood startles her by doing just that… and an attempt to help her sets off a series of events that will alter both their lives.

An addled aunt, secrets and fears, duty and passion, and – of all things – a puppy help bring life to Ravenwood’s world. Passion, compassion and most of all the desire to prove her worth are what drive Kate. They each take little steps to opening up to the other but it takes a near disaster to really bring home what means the most to them.

I adore Kate’s enthusiasm in everything she does and her ability to go with the flow, even when things don’t go the way she thinks they should. I loved seeing the ever stoic Ravenwood have a flaw, one that basically controlled his life.

The Duke’s Accidental Wife is the seventh and final book in Erica Ridley’s Dukes of War series, although it can be read as a standalone. As in the previous books, Ms. Ridley has the characters staying true to themselves while evolving into more, and her writing style draws the reader in and engages the emotions. My principal complaint is that the pacing is a little on the slow side, and I confess there were times when, much as I enjoyed their interactions, I wanted to knock some sense into both Kate and Ravenwood!

Overall, however, I enjoyed the book, and would recommend it to fans of the author and historical romance in general.

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