Blame It on the Duke (Disgraceful Dukes #3)
Avon / April 18, 2017 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital
Lenora Bell’s third novel, Blame it on the Duke, follows in the pattern she set with her first two—a witty, tropey, sexy romp. In this installment, however, she’s given us a meaty subplot to chew on: the spectre of mental illness.
Nick Hatherly is “lost” in a bet made by his father. The “winner” is Lady Alice Tombs, a skilled linguist who wishes to travel to India before marrying anyone. She has been actively discouraging any suitors with awkward, often off-putting, conversation since the time that readers met her in How the Duke Was Won. Her parents, particularly her social-climbing mother, are determined to marry her off as soon as possible, thus the bet and ensuing betrothal. Nick is a self-described rake, determined never to marry or sire any children. His father isn’t the only member of his family to go mad, you see. At one point, he walks Alice down a gallery of family portraits and describes all the ways his ancestors have descended into lunacy.
On the surface, we see the couple that doesn’t want to marry and doesn’t want to fall in love. If that’s a dynamic that pleases you, look no further. The couple goes so far as to write up a contract that states the exact terms of their marriage: no children, Alice gets to go to India, Nick gets to stay in London, they will have one month of “training” before Alice leaves, during which time Nick will be faithful to her.