First Lines: She’d left him two years, seven months ago, exactly. Malcolm Marcus Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, looked to the tiny wooden calendar wheels inlaid into the blotter on his desk in his private office above the House of Lords.
This book marks the last book in this series and also the last of my MacLean rereads. (Hey, I had to draw the line somewhere–by this point, I was needing a change in my literature.) So after this one, I’ll be looking at some different authors!
Malcolm Bevingstoke has been living in self-imposed solitude for three years now, a punishment for driving away the one woman he loved and the mistake he can never undo. However, the dukedom waits for no one and Malcolm needs an heir. He must find a wife before the end of summer–the only problem being that he’s already married. After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London to free herself from her past once and for all. But to get her divorce granted, she has to make a deal with her estranged husband: Sera can have her freedom if she helps him find her replacement. This means spending time in close quarters with Malcolm, the man she doesn’t want but can’t resist. Now, Malcolm has a single summer to woo his wife and try to overcome their broken past.
Rereading this one was an…interesting experience. I’d actually forgotten (since I tend to read this when they come out, taking years to finish the series) that we knew all about Malcolm’s mistake from The Rogue Not Taken. Sera is Sophie’s older sister, so we’re very familiar with the family by this point. That was so much fun because these Talbot sisters are…oh boy, are they an experience. A fun one, but still.
Oddly enough, I always like the trope of having a married couple who have issues (in this case, with Sera looking for a divorce) and the other trying to win them back. It’s different, seeing as few romance books focus on that. I like seeing couples with history.
This story was funny and interesting. I will say that I didn’t totally buy into the love story, but I bought into the other emotions. Sera’s pain, Malcolm’s betrayal, Sera’s and Malcolm’s determination. Those were all really good. (This can sometimes be a pretty dark story. I mean, not like this terrible, triggering story or anything, but that pain runs deep for Sera. For good reason.)
Not my favorite, but not a bad outing.