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Book CoverLiviania’s review of The Confessions of a Duchess (Brides of Fortune, Book 1) by Nicola Cornick
Historical romance released by HQN 1 Jun 09

I not only write reviews for TGTBTU, I also read them.  Nicola Cornick earned praise from both Sandy and Wendy TSL.  (I think it was this review that really made me want to read one of hers.)  Thus, I began The Confessions of a Duchess with high expectations.  Unfortunately, it did not live up to them, though I may try the other novels in the miniseries.

Sir Montague is the squire of Fortune’s Folly.  Because he’s rather odious, former housemaid/current heiress Alice Lister rejected his proposal.  Thus he reinstates the Dame’s Tax: if a woman doesn’t marry, half of her fortune is his.  Among the fortune hunters that pour into the town is Derek Ansthruther, who needs a rich wife in order to provide for his siblings and make his boss happy.  He also has a mystery to investigate.  (So little attention is paid to the mystery I’ve already forgotten the details of the whodunit.)

Laura Cole, the eponymous duchess, is dismayed because she bore Derek’s child after a one-night stand.  She’s terrified he might reveal that Hattie is a bastard, despite the fact he has firsthand experience of the ridicule that natural children encounter.  I think this might have been my first “secret baby” book and I already know why people make fun of them.  As Laura falls deeper in love her reason for pushing Derek away just sounds stupider and even more flimsy.

I was more interested in the secondary romance, that of Miss Alice Lister who sets the whole thing off and the rake Miles Vickery.  If I didn’t like them, I wouldn’t be interested in picking up the next Brides of Fortune Novel, The Scandals of an Innocent.  Laura and Derek were keeping themselves apart, which got old fast.  (And then they give away twenty-thousand pounds that they could really use.  Yeah, the people giving the money were odious, but I didn’t see it as smart or heroic.)

As far as Regency romances go, The Confessions of a Duchess is serviceable.  But the genre is rife with serviceable novels, and I expected more of Nicola Cornick.  Perhaps next time.

liviania.jpgGrade: C

Laura, Dowager Duchess of Cole, has sworn never to marry again. But the arrival of Dexter Anstruther, the man with whom she once shared one forbidden night of passion, throws her plans and her heart into turmoil. Laura knows that the secret she is keeping from Dexter would destroy any chance of a future together. But can she keep her secrets and keep Dexter at arm’s length when he is so determined to rekindle their passion?
Read an excerpt here.