Rating: ★★★ | Avon | Historical Romance | Scandal & Scoundrel #3 | 06/27/2017
Sarah MacLean has kind of been the public face of feminism in romance for the last couple of years in articles and I’ve been meaning to read her for years. Day of the Duchess has everything; underground ballrooms, marriage in peril, a grumpy American and some sequel bait Bachelor-ing. What’s sequel bait Bachelor-ing ? You know it’s that thing where the hero invites eligible ladies to his house to compete in a Bachelor-type competition to be his wife; but since none of them is the heroine we know he won’t pick one but at least a few of them will be in the next series.
The plot of this book has a lot of layers; I was explaining it to Jess when I was about 1/3 into the book and I think I was just rambling. This story is really in two parts; the first half was kind of like the movie Blue Valentine as we jump back and forth in time to see what lead to the estrangement of Duke and Duchess of Haven and why the duchess, Seraphina, is back demanding a divorce. The next part involves the duchess helping the duke find a new wife, hence the Bachelor-ing. There is a lot going on in this book but I like that it’s an unconventional romance, we get to watch a married couple working out their romance instead of a whole new romance. MacLean has a riotous group of characters to accompany them including Seraphina’s unconventional sisters, the spunky contestants, and a fairly grumpy American man named Caleb.
MacLean wrote a piece in the Washington Post about the hero of this book and alpha heroes more generally in the wake of the election, but I personally had no love loss for the Duke of Haven. I never really felt the sparks between he and Seraphina and honestly, he seemed a little extra at times. I was kind of rooting for her to end up with Caleb, the American friend she wants to open an upscale tavern with…she doesn’t end up with him but I feel like we haven’t seen the last of Caleb.
I read this book both in print and audio, Justine Eyre is an enjoyable narrator she has this breezy voice but she’s not British and I can kind of hear it. It’s weird, I’ve found on audiobooks I notice and get distracted by fake accents more so than I do on television. Eyre does have a good variety of voices though, there are a lot of scenes where multiple women are talking and I could pick out each voice distinctly.