4 stars, Book Review, circus, feminism, historical, historical romance, reversal of fortune, romance, series
Review of The Dueling Duchess
The title character, Cecile Tremblay, runs a circus that features women as the main entertainers including boxing (see The Boxing Baroness), knife throwing, and Cecile’s act – sharpshooting. She has a mysterious past, but has found her home with her circus family in London.
Gaius Darlington’s previous adventure with the circus endeared him to Cecile but when it was over, Guy made a terrible mistake, offending Cecile to the point where she wished never to see him again. But Guy has had a gigantic reversal of fortune. He needs a job and he really wants Cecile back in his life.
It is clear Cecile and Guy have a thing for each other. They also have an unfortunate history. Their friends help/hinder where they can. A young street girl and her dog join the family which really serves as the needed buffer between the two. But, they have a lot to work through.
Part of this story overlaps The Boxing Baroness. Good news for anyone who has not read that story – you get the background. I did read that book and while new viewpoints were presented, I always find rehashing a scene a bit tedious.
Once the story catches up to a new timeline, it takes off and at that point, I found The Dueling Duchess to be bundles of fun! Witty conversations and humor can be found on every page. There is chemistry between Cecile and Guy whether they are arguing or kissing. The original take on feminism in a male-dominated society will appeal to many readers. The historical setting, post Napoleonic wars, is enhanced with gossip papers, the London ton, imposters, ex-patriots, a raven, and plenty of romance!
Through NetGalley, the publisher provided a copy of this book. My review is my honest opinion.
About The Dueling Duchess by Minerva Spencer
When Cecile Tremblay lost everyone and everything in the French Revolution, she never imagined that she’d earn her living as a markswoman in a London circus. But Farnham’s Fantastical Female Fayre has become her home, her family, and her future. Another thing Cecile never imagined was becoming entangled with the man gossip columns call The Darling of the Ton. But mere weeks after her rejection of his insulting carte blanche—and his infuriating engagement to an heiress—Darlington is back, this time to beg Cecile for help. And help him she will, by teaching him about honest work—and the right way to treat a woman.
Gaius Darlington has always led a charmed life. Until now. Suddenly, a long-lost heir has appeared to claim his title, possessions, and property, Not only that, but Guy’s fiancée has jilted him to marry the usurper! Yet there is a silver lining: it’s no longer Guy’s duty to marry an heiress to save the dukedom. He’s free to wed the woman he loves—if only he can earn her forgiveness.
They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. But fury is just a step away from passion, and Guy knows just how to arouse Cecile’s. . .
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