When You Wish Upon a Duke
Ballantine / July 31, 2012 / $7.99 print & digital
Raised in the Dorset countryside, Lady Charlotte Wylder doesn’t care one bit about well-bred decorum. The dark-haired, blue-eyed beauty would rather ride a horse than attend a stuffy ball. So when Charlotte learns that she is to leave immediately for London to wed the Duke of Marchbourne, a perfect model of aristocratic propriety, she is less than enchanted with her arranged marriage.
But to her delight, their first encounters are brazenly flirtatious, and their wedding night burns with passion. March’s broad shoulders and dark countenance make Charlotte want to rip every button off his waistcoast. She may even be falling in love with her new husband. Yet whenever their desire boils over, March reluctantly pushes Charlotte away. Will past secrets and present misunderstandings mire their marriage in scandal, or serve to strengthen a bond that is destined to last a lifetime?
There were many things to like in Isabella Bradford’s When You Wish Upon a Duke; I liked that the heroine Charlotte, while being a well-bred lady, isn’t marriage minded. First of all, she doesn’t need to be, but more, she never cared to be.
Both Charlotte and the hero, March, are so reasonable, and personable. They’re sensible and they communicate! So very different from the usual romance novels with a Big Misunderstanding. There also isn’t a lot of sub plot or intrigue in the book, and I actually think that was one of the best features.
The book feels like a classic of both literature and romance: It’s a love story that focuses on the hero and heroine, both their character development, as well as their love and relationship. That’s the main purpose of the story, and it’s about them as people growing together throughout the novel. There are no distractions, and none are needed because of the wonderfully dynamic characters that Charlotte and March are.
Then there’s also the wonderful writing, and subtle humor. I noticed the humor more when reading the book the second time, and found myself giggling throughout. Charlotte and March are perfectly matched. They’re both good-natured, even tempered, and happy with the arranged marriage. They’re also both in love with the other. Too often heroes and heroines won’t admit it or try to hide it. Not so the case here. It’s basically the perfect romance, and yet I was kept engaged throughout.
While reading it the first time I kept thinking to myself that not much was happening, and that I loved it. What I mean is, there’s nothing extraneous. No action is needed to keep the reader engaged. All you need is March and Charlotte, and to see who they are, and how their relationship progresses. They’re two strangers who make the best of a situation, and also fall in love.
From the great characters, the excellent writing, secondary characters, and sparkling wit, this book has it all. When You Wish Upon a Duke is wonderfully simplistic in its story, and that is where it shines and becomes, ironically, so complex. It’s a perfect romance—and a true romance.
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