The Duke’s Secret Heir by Sarah Mallory

the duke's secret heirPurchase Now from Amazon.

“This, madam, changes everything.”

Years ago, in the Egyptian desert, Ellen Tatham fell wildly in love and exchanged vows with Max Colnebrooke. But, when made to believe Max could not be trusted, she fled…

Now, Max is back in England to take up the reins as Duke of Rossenhall. And when he spies Ellen at a ball, the sparks are hard to contain! Little does Max know, though, that Ellen has a secret… And soon, he must learn to embrace an unexpected heir, and an unexpected—and disconcertingly defiant—duchess!

add-to-goodreads-button

Publisher and Release Date: Harlequin Historical, January 2017

Time and Setting: England, 1811
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Review Rating: 3.5 stars

Review by Sara

Sarah Mallory merges two romantic tropes together surprisingly well in her latest release, The Duke’s Secret Heir. A big misunderstanding separates our main characters for a time and their secret baby plays a major role in their strained reconciliation. What could have been a frustrating read becomes quite interesting as we see how a couple can overcome such difficulties to form a lasting relationship.

During a warm summer in Egypt, Miss Ellen Tatham and Major Max Colnebrooke fell in love. It was an instant attraction and a whirlwind courtship but Max and Ellen knew that it was meant to be and said their “I Do’s” in front of the army chaplain before consummating their marriage. Unfortunately the instability in the region pushes Max to arrange passage for his new wife and her companion back to England with another officer. Those plans unexpectedly change when Ellen is separated from the English forces and they are rescued from Egypt by a French diplomat who uses his connections to get her back home. The lines of communication between Max and Ellen are further complicated when she writes to the Home Office to locate her new husband and is told there is no record of a Major Colnebrooke stationed in Egypt. Fearing that she had fallen prey to a scoundrel and was now ruined for another, Ellen retreats back to her home and hopes her family will help her start over.

In the four intervening years Max and Ellen have become very different people from who they were in Egypt. Upon discovering that his wife had left the country with a Frenchman, Max threw himself into his command and led several successful charges on the French forces where he lost some good soldiers. His guilt over their deaths, compounded with his anger at Ellen’s betrayal led Max to ignore many of his responsibilities back in England including a dukedom he inherited from his older brother. Ellen’s life was thrown into turmoil once she realized she was carrying Max’s child and there was no way of finding the man she had married. With the support of her step-mother, Ellen built a life for herself in High Harrogate as an unassuming widow raising her son alone. The friendships she makes give her some comfort but everything in her life now revolves around her son James’ wellbeing.

Max slowly embraces his role as Duke of Rossenhall while keeping close ties with the men he served with and it’s the news of a friend’s illness that brings him to Harrogate. Hoping to make his friend’s last days as enjoyable as possible Max allows himself to be shown off to the local gentry and accepts an invitation to a ball held in town. It is there that his past and his present collide when his friend’s wife introduces him to her own good friend Mrs. Ellen Furnell. Furious at discovering his wife has been in England since their separation, Max barely controls himself enough to confirm to her that they are indeed married to each other and a divorce will be imminent. Ellen is brokenhearted to learn that her marriage was in fact legitimate but that her estranged husband has no love left in his heart for what they once were to each other. It’s only Max’s chance meeting with his son Jamie that stays his hand enough for them to discuss what might come next.

Reading The Duke’s Secret Heir was challenging because I found it difficult to like Max. He comes across as quite charming in Ellen’s memories of their time together in Egypt but from almost his first moments on the page he seems arrogant and unnecessarily cruel. When Ellen tries to explain what had happened during their escape Max hears her words but doesn’t listen to what she is saying. His attitude has been tainted by years of holding Ellen responsible for his own recklessness while leading his men into danger just to forget her. Somewhere in his mind Max realizes that blaming her for his own actions is wrong; however it was always easier to blame someone not involved rather than facing his own culpability.

I liked Ellen’s characterization and her willingness to accept her own mistakes that led to the years of separation. It’s much easier to understand why Ellen made the choices she did to hide herself and protect Jamie. I also loved how determined she is to become the duchess Max needs her to be despite his distrust towards her and how he fails to support her in those attempts. I never felt Ellen was a doormat kind of heroine but at some point I wished she would get angry right back at Max to perhaps snap him from his self-indulgent moping. For the most part she comes across as a caring, thoughtful woman who has learned her lessons and become much better for the experience.

Overall I liked The Duke’s Secret Heir enough to recommend it. The story moves quickly to get a reader past all the anger and sadness Max and Ellen feel at their reunion to let the second chance romance shine through.

42 thoughts on “The Duke’s Secret Heir by Sarah Mallory

  1. Having read this I thought it was extremely enlightening.

    I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this informative article together.
    I once again find myself spending a lot of
    time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worth it!

  2. Hiya very nice site!! Man .. Excellent .. Wonderful ..
    I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds additionally?
    I am happy to search out so many useful info right here in the publish, we want work out extra strategies on this
    regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

  3. Have you ever considered writing an ebook or guest authoring on other websites?
    I have a blog based upon on the same information you discuss
    and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my
    audience would appreciate your work. If you
    are even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e mail.

  4. I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s both equally educative and entertaining, and without a doubt, you have
    hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently
    about. I am very happy I came across this in my hunt for something relating to this.

  5. Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on websites I stumbleupon every day.
    It’s always exciting to read articles from other authors and practice something from their websites.

  6. I do not even understand how I ended up right here, but I believed this put up was great.

    I don’t know who you might be however definitely you are going to a well-known blogger in the event you aren’t already.
    Cheers!

  7. I do not know if it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else
    experiencing issues with your blog. It seems like some of the written text on your posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback and let me know if this is
    happening to them too? This could be a issue with my
    web browser because I’ve had this happen before. Thanks

  8. I think this is among the most vital information for me.

    And i’m glad reading your article. But want to remark on few general things, The web site style is ideal, the articles is really great :
    D. Good job, cheers

  9. you are in point of fact a excellent webmaster. The site loading pace is incredible.
    It kind of feels that you are doing any distinctive trick.
    Moreover, The contents are masterwork. you’ve performed a excellent job on this subject!

  10. Hi terrific website! Does running a blog such as this take a large amount of work?
    I have absolutely no knowledge of computer programming however I
    had been hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyhow, if you have any recommendations or techniques for new blog owners
    please share. I understand this is off subject but I
    just had to ask. Cheers!

  11. Howdy very nice site!! Guy .. Excellent .. Superb ..
    I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds additionally? I’m happy to search out a lot of
    helpful info here in the put up, we’d like work out more strategies
    on this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

  12. I do agree with all of the ideas you’ve introduced to your post.
    They’re very convincing and can certainly work.

    Nonetheless, the posts are very short for beginners. Could you please
    prolong them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.

  13. Hmm it seems like your blog ate my first comment (it was
    extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and
    say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring
    blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you
    have any tips and hints for newbie blog writers? I’d certainly appreciate it.

  14. Can I simply say what a comfort to discover someone that truly understands what they are talking about on the internet.

    You certainly understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important.
    More and more people need to read this and understand this side of the story.
    I was surprised you’re not more popular given that you certainly possess the gift.

  15. Great beat ! I wish to apprentice even as you amend
    your website, how could i subscribe for a blog site?
    The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this
    your broadcast provided shiny clear concept

  16. I’m impressed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a
    blog that’s both equally educative and interesting, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail
    on the head. The issue is something that too few folks are
    speaking intelligently about. I’m very happy that I found this in my search for something concerning this.

  17. you are actually a excellent webmaster. The
    website loading velocity is incredible. It seems that you’re
    doing any distinctive trick. Also, The contents are masterwork.
    you have performed a fantastic job on this subject!

  18. My programmer is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP.
    I have always disliked the idea because of
    the costs. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress
    on several websites for about a year and
    am anxious about switching to another platform. I have heard great things about blogengine.net.

    Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress posts into it?
    Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated!

  19. Excellent beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your website, how can i subscribe for
    a blog web site? The account helped me a acceptable deal.
    I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear concept

  20. Definitely consider that which you stated. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the net the simplest factor to consider of.
    I say to you, I certainly get irked whilst folks think about concerns that they plainly do
    not understand about. You managed to hit the
    nail upon the top as smartly as defined out the whole thing with no need side effect , other folks could take a signal.

    Will probably be back to get more. Thank you

  21. It’s really very complex in this busy life to listen news on Television, so I only use
    world wide web for that purpose, and get the newest news.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *