Grace Condry, along with her adopted brothers, lived on London’s streets as children after running away from their abusive father. They toughed it out, fighting for money and eventually becoming powerful on their own and as adults fight for a different cause. The betterment of their neighborhood. When Ewan, the Duke of Marwick terrorizes their home, the brothers band together to protect Grace, his one time love. They’ve never forgiven Ewan for his betrayal, but Grace never forgot their long ago love. Can she forgive Ewan for her broken heart?
I’ve really enjoyed this series about these bastard children of a Duke and the hardships they’ve overcome to build a life in one of the deadlier neighborhoods in London. The first two novels told the story of the brothers, and Grace only had a small part in those so I never felt I really got to know her. In Daring and the Duke we finally see the culmination of this hatred between the three brothers who were ripped apart while fighting for a Dukedom. They’ve hated Ewan pretty viciously so I didn’t really know what to think about this love interest for Grace and was really only mildly curious. I was intrigued with how Sarah MacLean would tell their story and make me care for a heroine who had always lived in the darkness.
Grace was not your typical regency heroine. She is a madame of a brothel where the roles are flipped. This is a place where gentile women can go to live out their fantasies choosing from a bevy of men. Kind of an interesting job for a heroine of a novel, right? The author did a good job of portraying her role in a female empowerment kind of way so that it felt different but not disreputable. Well, maybe only slightly. Who was this woman who wore pants, managed a brothel, and held a sword as well as a man? It turns out, she was a pretty interesting one! My question was, what would this Duke be like and how would he hold her interest?
Secrets were finally revealed about the truth behind Ewan’s role in their betrayal and it turns out he had a very good reason for his behavior when they were children. Don’t worry I won’t spoil the plot, but needless to say when Grace hear’s it she doesn’t find it difficult to forgive Ewan. How though, does a brothel owner and a Duke maintain a relationship? For me, that was the real conflict in this novel and one I would think would be a doozy! The author creates a very interesting and surprising resolution! Is it realistic? Nope! But, this is a historical romance so realism kind of gets thrown out the window.
I had never read a Sarah Maclean novel prior to reading this series and I have to say I was impressed. The characters are very non traditional and feel real because they weren’t a complete fantasy. Their situations didn’t feel as real, but like I said above you kind of have to let reality slide when you choose to read a historical romance. She created a great fantasy world and is an author I’d turn to when wanting to escape my own bit of reality.
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