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Book CoverC2’s review of A Duke in Shining Armor (Difficult Dukes, Book 1) by Loretta Chase
Historical Romance published by Avon 28 Nov 17

Greetings, Faithful Reader! We all try to do our best for our families, don’t we? We want them to have good lives and all the advantages. But how much are we willing to do to ensure that happens? Are we willing to take a chance with the rest of our lives?? That’s the question our heroine has to answer. Let’s go!

Lady Olympia Hightower is engaged to marry the Duke of Ashmont (one of the notorious Dis-Graces). She knows it is the best thing for her family – her father is not the best money manager and she has several brothers who will need a good start in the world. But how did she, a longtime wallflower – Most Boring Girl of the Season – even get to this point in her life? Why, when a duke can have anyone he chooses, did the Ashmont pick her? And, more importantly, can she go through with the marriage? To shore up her courage, on the morning wedding Olympia starts with some brandy-laced tea – and ends up with just the brandy. As the alcohol hits her system, she realizes she really can’t go through with the wedding and her only option is to run.

As the wedding delay becomes more and more suspicious – how long does it take to fix a hem, really – the Duke of Ripley (best man and Dis-Grace) and the Duke of Blackwood (the final Dis-Grace) remove a less-than-sober Ashmont to another room to limit his alcohol consumption and lessen the chances of a scene. They did not expect to find the bride climbing out the library window. Blackwood removes Ashmont and tells Ripley to deal with the situation.

Ripley does not think this sort of thing is part of his duties. Nevertheless, when faced with a drunken bride (who had obviously been crying), what can he do? Sober her up and get her back to the ceremony, certainly, or…hesitate too long to decide and watch her flee. Well, that decides things, doen’t it? Ripley has to chase her down. She’s obviously in distress! Ripley’s already suspicious – how did his often drunk and brawling friend manage to get an otherwise sane, non-pregnant, eligible young lady to say yes to his proposal? Good looks could only take Ashmont so far, in Ripley’s opinion. So, when faced with a sad bride, driven to drink on the morning of her wedding, Ripley wonders what his friend has done to cause this.

What follows is a series of events too involved to cover in a review – besides, reading them is a delight and I don’t want to spoil your fun, Faithful Reader. Let’s just say that what should have been a simple bride retrieval turns into so much more. Everything that could go wrong? Does. And along the way, Ripley and Olympia figure out that she’s engaged to the wrong Dis-Grace. But what can they do?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, Reader. Such fun! Ms. Chase has written a lively story filled with characters that are a twist on the usual historical cast. Ripley is not a know-it-all hero who tries to force his plans on the heroine. He frequently acknowledges he isn’t that bright and that she is smarter. Olympia is caught between what she promised and what she wants – and realizes she is lacking in real world experience when it comes to some things (like dealing with a man’s notion of honor). Maybe what she needs is someone to save her from a soul-sucking existence…no armor necessary.

If you like banter and road trips and the machinations of relatives and libraries and brawls, this is the book for you. It is filled with humor but doesn’t lack emotional depth. Yay!

CSquareds C2 Icon Grade: A


Not all dukes are created equal. Most are upstanding members of Society. And then there’s the trio known as Their Dis-Graces.

Hugh Philemon Ancaster, seventh Duke of Ripley, will never win prizes for virtue. But even he draws the line at running off with his best friend’s bride. All he’s trying to do is recapture the slightly inebriated Lady Olympia Hightower and return her to her intended bridegroom.

For reasons that elude her, bookish, bespectacled Olympia is supposed to marry a gorgeous rake of a duke. The ton is flabbergasted. Her family’s ecstatic. And Olympia? She’s climbing out of a window, bent on a getaway. But tall, dark, and exasperating Ripley is hot on her trail, determined to bring her back to his friend. For once, the world-famous hellion is trying to do the honorable thing.

So why does Olympia have to make it so deliciously difficult for him . . . ?

Read an excerpt.