From the publisher: Daniel Hayle, Duke of Carlisle, returned from Waterloo a hero, and he has the wounds to prove it. But he dreads the coming London season as he never did the battlefield, where his lack of social skills is certain to make it difficult to find a wife. What he needs is someone to help him practice socializing with the ton. Someone who isn’t frightened away by his scars . . . . Margery Kitteridge is still mourning the loss of her husband. So when she receives a blackmail letter accusing him of desertion, she’s desperate to protect his reputation. The answer to her troubles appears in the form of a damaged, reclusive duke in need of a wife. She proposes an alliance: she’ll help him find a bride, in return for the money to pay off the blackmailer. But working so closely together awakens passions they never imagined possible, and reveals secrets that might tear them apart.
A Duke Worth Fighting For is a slow moving historical romance set during the Regency period. The story switches back and forth between Margery’s point of view and Daniel’s point of view. I found Margery somewhat unusual as a fictional Regency widow because she loved her first husband and is legitimately mourning him. So often the heroine’s first husband was abusive or neglectful.
Daniel is physically damaged and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He is a kind and socially awkward character who is easy to love. Margery is ebullient and creative, and it’s easy to see why their older relatives are matchmaking – easy, that is, for everyone except Daniel and Margery. They hold out against their mutual attraction for as long as possible. The author does take advantage of the fact that Margery is a widow and not a virgin, and things get physical long before they get romantic.
I was disappointed that an extreme coincidence plays an important role in the plot. The historical details were pretty standard; I was not wowed by any new information about the time period. The dialog was mostly fine, although I was reminded unfavorably of some bad dialog in the musical Singing in the Rain when the hero said “I love you” three times in a row. 😁 If you enjoy historical romance novels that address societal issues and feature likable characters to root for, you may enjoy A Duke Worth Fighting For.
I read an advance reader copy from Netgalley of A Duke Worth Fighting For, which is the third book in the Isle of Synne series. I have not read the first two, and I think I would have enjoyed A Duke Worth Fighting For more if I had. Characters from previous books are thrown into the story without much introduction.
The Galesburg Public Library owns the first two, A Good Duke Is Hard to Find and Someday My Duke Will Come. A Duke Worth Fighting For will be available in late August.