by Jennifer Haymore
Category: Adult Historical Romance
Keywords: Historical, romance, childhood sweethearts, siblings, missing persons
Format: Mass market paperback, eBook
Source: e-ARC received from Netgalley
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.
I have only been recently introduced to the work of Jennifer Haymore. I had previously read the prequel novella to the House of Trent series which, while showing potential, did not wow me. However, the novella did include a lengthy excerpt for The Duchess War which sounded really promising and I was glad to see it pop up on Netgalley a few weeks later.
The Duchess Hunt is the first book in a new historical romance series by Julie Haymore featuring the unconventional Trent family. Rumor and scandal follow the Trents wherever they go. Simon Trent, the Duke of Trent, has spent his whole life trying to undo the damage that his parents did. He has a strict moral code and works tirelessly to restore his family’s good name. When Simon’s mother disappears without a trace, he must work quickly and quietly with his siblings to find her before the ton finds out and scandal once again darkens their door.
Called in to help is Sarah Osborne, the gardener’s daughter and now head housemaid. The Duchess of Trent raised Sarah almost as one of her own and she and Simon share a special bond and friendship. They also share a deep attraction, which both of them have been fighting. A maid and a Duke cannot be together, and both of them know it. But investigating the Duchess’s disappearance throws Simon and Sarah closer together and their feelings for each other become harder and harder to ignore.
This was such a wonderful romance! I loved both Simon and Sarah and thoroughly enjoyed their story. Sarah is a great heroine. I love how smart she was and stoutly loyal and devoted to the family. As a gardener’s daughter, she has realistic expectations of her life but still has aspirations. She’s already reached far ahead of what most people in her position could. Simon was great as well and I loved how kind and loyal he was. He always tried to do the right thing for the family, even if it was detrimental to himself. He always treated Sarah with care and respect even though she is far below him in social status.
Sarah and Simon had fantastic chemistry. Every time they were in a room together, I could feel the tension in the air. Years of denying their attraction to each other really amped up the energy between them and when they finally get together – wow. While the love scenes are extremely passionate and hot, there were also a lot of really sweet moments between the two. It’s clear that they have a special connection born from years of friendship and I loved some of the small moments they had together.
Overall, I was really impressed with The Duchess Hunt. The romance was great and I loved the main characters. The mystery aspect of the story did fall a little flat however. It wasn’t quite as exciting as I was expecting, but I really didn’t care because all I really cared about was what was going to happen to Simon and Sarah. I was also really intrigued by the rest of the family. They each have very distinct personalities and I cannot wait to read their stories. The Duchess Hunt included a short except for the next book in the series, The Rogue’s Proposal, which follows the surliest Trent, Luke, as he searches for his mother. The excerpt is very promising and I have added it to my TBR list. If you like historical romances with emotional punch and great characters, don’t hesitate to pick up The Duchess Hunt.
** The author is giving away 5 copies of this book on Goodreads right now. Go enter, you know you want to. :)