To The Duke, With Love by Amelia Grey
To The Duke, With Love is the second in The Rakes of St. James series, about the loves of three dukes infamous for a prank they played a few years prior to the events of these books, inspired by a volume named A Proper Gentleman's Guide To Wooing The Perfect Lady. Quotes from this volume are scattered through the book and are frankly hilarious. Any gentleman who took the book's advice entirely to heart would be dull as mud and definitely overlooked by any lady with any spirit to her at all.
Loretta Quick, the heroine of this story, most definitely has spirit. Spirit enough to change her mind about the marriage her uncle arranged for her right at the altar, condemning herself to a life of exile from society. Until a darkly dangerous duke comes calling... but not for her.
The Duke of Hawksworth wants a safe husband for his sister before she has to face society and the perils it might hold from those who would take their revenge on her for his past sins. Paxton Quick is sensible, charming, friendly and perfect for Adele. His sister, however, is very much opposed to arranged marriages, and might prove an obstacle to his plans. To his peace of mind, too.
I really enjoyed the machinations of Hawk and Loretta as they both sought to protect their much-loved siblings and maneuver around the pitfalls of society, all while fighting their attraction to each other. There was some really intriguing social commentary about the double standards applied to women, though honestly I felt Loretta's vow never to marry was given under duress and she should have recognized that and been more than happy to rescind it at the earliest opportunity. I'm not particularly keen in insta-lust in Regencies, particularly for men, and there was a pretty bad case of it in this book. Despite that, it was well-written and there was a lot of thought given to the social expectations and strictures of the day. Four stars.
Disclaimer: I received this book for review through NetGalley.