Monday, May 13, 2013

The Duchess Hunt (House of Trent #1) by Jennifer Haymore

The Duchess Hunt (House of Trent, #1)
Simon Hawkins, duke of Trent, is no stranger to scandal. Rumors and innuendo have darkened the House of Trent for decades, and it has fallen to Simon to restore his tattered family name. He lives by a strict code of honor, but when he is called home to investigate his mother's disappearance, the distinguished duke will tangle with temptation. For there waits the only woman he has ever loved--and the last woman he should desire...

Sarah Osborne has spent her life dreaming of Simon's touch. But dukes do not long for lady's maids--or so Sarah believes, until a stolen kiss sparks a passion that could be her ultimate undoing. As the couple begins a forbidden romance, a cunning enemy plots to destroy the duke and everything he loves. Now, caught in a blackmailer's web, Simon faces an agonizing choice: sacrifice his family's future or break Sarah's heart.

My Rating: 5 Roses
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Such a wonderful historical romance! The Duchess Hunt was a great read, full of sizzling romance and a thrilling mystery.

I loved the characters in this book. Not only the leading couple, but all the siblings in the Hawkins family. They were incredibly well written. None of them were flat character. They all had read depth that made them very interesting to read about. 

Sarah was a wonderful heroine. She harbors no illusions about her place in the world. She knows that she is only a gardener's daughter and that she is unlikely to ever rise from that position. I loved that she was a realistic character. She saw things as they were and accepted reality as what it was. It was such a relief to have a heroine like that because it kept her from being prone to overdramatics. But, she also wasn't the type to settle. Just because her station in life demanded a certain thing, she wasn't going to just settle for second best. Her's wasn't a bold strength, it was more a quite courage. Honestly, she was a fantastic heroine, definitely one I could root for.

Simon was also amazing. He had that same acceptance of reality that made him a great character. However, being a duke, he could decide what reality would be. And when it suited him, perhaps when social rules prevented him from being with the woman he loved, he would change it. I loved how loyal he was to his family. He would sacrifice his own happiness so that his family would be okay. And he was so sweet and easy to adore.

The romance in this book was very well-done. There was always a longing between Sarah and Simon, a product of having loved each other for so long. I thought that emotion was well portrayed. And there were sparks flying between them constantly, a product of having lusted after each other for so long. They were very sweet together, an utterly perfect couple. And when they got together, wow, did it get hot!

The plot was fast paced. The mystery of the missing duchess kept the thrills going. The surprises that came up in that investigation were shocking. That combined with the delightful romance had me utterly hooked. And the ending was great, giving closure to the romance while leaving the mystery open to continue in book 2 (which I'm very excited about).

The Duchess Hunt was a fantastic historical romance! If you like historical romance, you have to read this book.

*Thanks to Forever Books for an early copy!

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