The Duchess. Finished 5-1-16, rating 4.25/5, 362 pages, pub. 1991
Claire Willoughby risked losing her millions in her inheritance if, as decreed by her grandfather, she did not wed an “acceptable” man. Harry Montgomery, the eleventh Duke of MacArran, seemed perfect. He owned a historical castle, he looked manly in a kilt, and he was as much a titled Scotsman as Bonnie Prince Charlie himself.
Their engagement announced, Claire’s future as a duchess was assured — and she set off with her family to meet the Montgomery clan in Scotland. Bramley Castle was a damp, chill place, overflowing with eccentric relatives. But there was also Trevelyan, a secretive, brooding man who lived in Bramley’s ancient halls. Whoever he was, he wasn’t at all like Harry: Trevelyan was the most exasperating, arrogant, know-it-all of a man Claire had ever met. And the most fascinating …
The older Jude Deveraux historical romances, especially ones that have Montgomery men in hem, are comfort reads. I used to read romances almost exclusively when I was in my teens and she and Judith McNaught were/are favorites. I’ve read a few of Devereux’s newer books but they just don’t hold the same appeal. This one did not disappoint.
Claire, a once-wealthy American, heads to Scotland to spend time with Harry Montgomery, laird of his clan. It was 1883 and per her grandfather’s will, she must marry a man her parents approve of in order to collect her inheritance, an inheritance her lazy parents have already been spending. Harry proposes and it looks like a happy ending is assured, until she meets Trevelyan, the sickly man who lives in the hidden part of the castle. She is drawn to him as she becomes disillusioned with life in the castle. Trevelyan appreciates her curiosity and intelligence and Harry would be happy for her to silently watch him hunt all day.
There are evil mothers, mysteries to be solved, exotic people to meet and maybe more than one happy ending. It’s also full of stereotypical tropes, but they are used well and easily forgiven. Claire’s younger sister used language that was clearly not of the times, but meant to convey her young attitude. If you like your romances to be politically correct then this is not for you, but as a lover of the genre I consider it a treat for my brain. I devoured it in two days.
This was from my personal library.