The Inconvenient Duchess
by Christine Merrill
In the prologue Marcus makes his mother a promise while she is on her dying bed. He promises to marry a girl who was coming because of a promise his mother made to her childhood friend. Marcus is a duke and needs to get married to produce an heir.
Miranda arrives at his door during a rainstorm. Soaked to the core, the Butler does not turn her away. While she is waiting, she meets a very charming man and is hopeful that he is the Duke. Only to find out later that he was St. John, the Duke’s brother and the Duke and St. John do not get along at all. Miranda is so naive that she does not discern the undercurrents of animosity between them. Marcus marries Miranda to save her honor but he makes it plain that he does not really want to do so.
Marcus bad attitude come about because he is quite jaded with women. In the beginning it seemed that he was still grieving his first wife, but he was disgusted with her deception and thirst for position and wealth. With all his emotional baggage, he has a difficult time understanding how Miranda can be true loyal and seemingly innocent.
After a non-eventful wedding night Marcus goes on his fact-finding mission in London to determine his mother’s sins. He wants to understand what caused her to feel so guilty to make him promise to marry Miranda. And while the Duke is away, young brother is doing his best to charm the new bride Miranda. It was like leaving a lamb in the company of a hungry wolf. She is confused because she thinks he’s being overly kind to welcome her to the family. Considering she is an innocent, she is clueless to his real intentions. As the reader I could tell St. John was up to no good.
I was wondering:
- How far would St John really go?
- When is Marcus getting home?
- When will Miranda get a clue?
Marcus was in need of an honest woman who would live in harmony with her marriage vows. Miranda had a hard life through no fault of her own and she needed a chance to prove her worth. I got my happy ever after ending and Marcus and Miranda get what they need. St. John got some of what he deserves and a great dose of undeserved kindness.
The title The Inconvenient Duchess still puzzled me. The only thing I can think of is that Miranda arrived at Marcus’s house at an inconvenient time I’m not sure what other title I could suggest, but the title does not really give any indication of the plot. Nevertheless I enjoyed the story. I was stressing a little bit because I wanted it to work out for Marcus and Miranda and knew that St. John was the main source of conflict.