I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Along Came a Lady by Christi Caldwell
Published by berkley on August 24, 2021
Genres: Historical Romance
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The brooding, illegitimate son of a duke meets his match in the determined woman hired to transform him into a gentleman from USA Today bestselling author Christi Caldwell—perfect for fans of Bridgerton.
Rafe Audley lives to thwart his father, the Duke of Bentley. The ne'er do well who abandoned his children claims he wants to make up for his failures, but Rafe only cares about protecting the people of his mining community and providing for his three siblings, who've been his sole responsibility since childhood. So far, Rafe has turned away the duke's man of affairs, solicitor, and other interlopers, until the clever duke sends the unlikeliest of people to convince Rafe to join English High Society—a bold and intriguing woman.
Edwina Dalrymple has never failed a charge. She's quite adept at successfully transforming young women of the gentry and daughters of newly minted lords to take their place in society. Taming a bastard son of a duke will be child's play, plus this job promises to enhance her reputation within the ton. All she has to do is fetch the wayward Rafe and groom him to be presentable to Polite Society.
As the tenacious teacher and her domineering, stubborn, refuses-to-be-taught pupil engage in a fiery battle of wills, their chemistry ignites and the true lesson becomes clear: opposites attract and hearts must be heard.
I haven’t read this author in years, but after reading this I really have to question my own judgement. She is a great writer!
This book starts out with our heroine, a governess who is the illegitimate daughter of an earl, and the daughter of a lady. However she is on her own, making her own life, making her own way, and she is, at present, being offered the chance of a lifetime. She is being asked to help a duke’s illegitimate son become worthy of the title. She is to give him lessons on the peerage and tutor him on anything necessary to survive London. As much as she wants to take them on as clients, because having tutored a duke’s son would be quite excellent for her business, for her reputation, and for her future…the only problem is that the duke’s son doesn’t want the title. Or the attention from his father. Or anything attached to his father’s name. Oh, and by the way, he’s a thirty year old coal miner.
So she decides to gather as much information as she can by staying in the rooms above the local pub for a few days before actually introducing herself. And when she does introduce herself, she nearly falls down a mine shaft. Rafe saves her, and sets her on her feet and tells her to leave. But what I loved about all of the scenes in his village is that they clearly show the fish out of water with her in her lovely dresses and lacy parasol, while everyone else is in working clothes, and well, working. But they never humiliate her, or make her feel bad. In fact, I am kind of reminded of the movie Legally Blonde. She’s definitely not one who fits in with the group, however, after the initial shock wears off everyone realizes she’s pretty awesome and a hard worker.
So he bets her that she can’t last a week in the kitchen with his younger sister, and if she does, then he’ll go off to London with her. Not only does she do well, his siblings help convince him to go.
Rafe in London is definitely not what I expected. (I won’t spoil it). He’s mad at Edwina for a while, rightfully so, until he remembers that the two of them declared war early on, and just because he is starting to feel feelings for her, she was following the rules of engagement he threw down. I was wondering how the author would handle that particular part, and I was pleasantly surprised.
The ending was rushed a bit, in my opinion, and I didn’t love the way a certain scene went down, but it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the book by any means. I think this will be a fun re-read for a rainy day. Oh, and I do so love the duke and duchess. They, and Rafe’s siblings, have definitely intrigued me. I look forward to the next book in this series. In the meantime, I’ll be picking up more Christi Caldwell books.
***ARC courtesy of Berkley Romance