Surprising Lord Jack (Duchess of Love, #2)Surprising Lord Jack by Sally MacKenzie
My rating: 4 of 5 flames

This story begins with Frances Hadley chopping her hair, taking her brother’s clothes, and escaping her horrid aunt who’d raised her. She heads off to London intending to force her twin brother and their solicitor to give her her dowry and let her leave her aunt (her aunt had planned to drug her and let a certain suitor compromise her, thus forcing the marriage). Her aunt was a nasty piece of work.

Of course, nothing goes as planned.

Lord Jack is bailing on his brother’s engagement ball because a certain lady from the last book Bedding Lord Ned is intent on marrying him. Jack takes off in a horrible snowstorm and stays at the closest inn. This inn usually keeps a room for the Valentine family, but this one night, they’ve let it to a young lad. Jack doesn’t mind sharing and he climbs into bed with the boy.

The next morning Frances wakes up to an attractive man in her bed. What I liked is that for her part, she kept her head, even whilst freaking out. Jack has no clue she’s a girl. She’s tall with few curves, and dressed as a young boy. People see what they want, right?
He insists on taking her to London to see her brother, but this is where everything starts to fall apart for Frances. Frances’ brother has gotten married and left his home. She has no plan B.

We see that Jack has a secret life. He’s not the rake persona he’s so carefully cultivated, he’s actually quite the do-gooder. He takes in strays and gives them a home and work. Frances of course, believes her aunt’s gossip and tales about Lord Jack being a rake of the highest order. She thinks at one point all the orphans must be his illegitimate children. Jack also takes her to a brothel, because not only is Jack a good-Samaritan, he’s also apparently the only one in London who can find the Silent Slasher. I thought that part was a bit unnecessary, but it worked.

After Jack has dragged Frances around to the worst parts of London, some jerk who knows her almost fiancé has realized she’s a girl, and hints at it so obviously that when Jack finally realizes it, I had to laugh.
The thing I liked about Frances is that she’s actually not very nice. But she realizes it after a really rough confrontation with her brother. She finally sees things from his point, and it’s actually pretty heartbreaking. I liked how she tried though. She tried to be ladylike, she tried to change from her nagging bossy persona, and she tried really hard to be someone she could be proud of.

And she really wasn’t all that bad-just innocent and mis-informed. I kind of liked her spunky ways.

,b>I think that this is a fun series; I read all 3 stories in just a couple days. The author’s tone is light, and fun. They’re fast and satisfying reads, and you’ll find yourself not wanting to put the book down.

***ARC courtesy of Kensington Books and Zebra Historical

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