Title: A Duchess in Name
Series: Grantham Girls, Book 1
Author: Amanda Weaver
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: January 18, 2016
Genre: Historical, Romance
ARC Received From: NetGalley
Reviewed For: Tasty Book Tours
Follow the tour
Victoria Carson never expected love. An American heiress and graduate of Lady Grantham's finishing school, she's been groomed since birth to marry an English title—the grander the better. So when the man chosen for her, the forbidding Earl of Dunnley, seems to hate her on sight, she understands that it can't matter. Love can have no place in this arrangement.
Andrew Hargrave has little use for his title and even less for his cold, disinterested parents. Determined to make his own way, he's devoted to his life in Italy working as an archaeologist. Until the collapse of his family's fortune drags him back to England to a marriage he never wanted and a woman he doesn't care to know.
Wild attraction is an unwanted complication for them both, though it forms the most fragile of bonds. Their marriage of convenience isn't so intolerable after all—but it may not be enough when the deception that bound them is finally revealed.
The things parents do to ensure their child receives what's "best" for them. Except those parents, like Victoria's, don't really care one bit for their child. Their own aspirations take priority and they will do whatever it takes to see them to fruition.
Victoria and Andrew were victims to Victoria's father's monetary greed and her mother's social status greed. They found their victim, played their little game, and obtained what, at the time, was most desired for a wealthy merchant family: an English title. Except neither Victoria nor Andrew knew about the circumstance that brought together until it was too late.
For Andrew, it was shortly before the wedding. The knowledge of how and who his father lost their family's money to fed the disgust and anger he felt toward Victoria, though he didn't know she had no part in his family's downfall. This is where I hated Andrew. While I can say he was justified in his feelings, he was not in his actions. Instead of being a level-headed adult, he digressed into acting like a child, a spoiled, bratty child who was denied his favorite toy. His lack of concern for Victoria's virginity and her fears on their wedding night made me want to strangle him. And his childish resolve to stay away from her kept them apart for damn near eighteen months, broken by his short visit home because of his father's death.
And all that time he was in Italy at some dig? He was with his mistress.
I was apprehensive when Andrew returned home for good. Victoria had made such incredible progress while he was away. The family manor was being rebuilt. The tenants were well-cared for. She proved herself an excellent Duchess in his stead. I didn't want him usurping her simply because he was the Duke. But he wasn't there for any of that. Well, he was but not to take it away from Victoria. He wanted, ultimately, to oversee the manor and the tenants as partners with his wife. Coming home was his last chance to get to know Victoria, to make amends, to move forward.
But Victoria was angry and hurt. He'd cast her aside without so much as an explanation, then waltzed back into her life as if he belonged there. He did but she wasn't keen on letting him back in. But Andrew worked to earn that right. He abided by her wishes, visited her bed at night because, of all the things his title could give her, she wanted something money and prestige couldn't give her: a family to love and cherish, something her parents did not do for her.
Happiness and love didn't happen overnight for Andrew and Victoria, but they did happen. Getting there was emotional and gut-wrenching. But it was worth experiencing to see them finally have what they'd been denied their entire lives by their so-called families.
I don't know if you'll read this story in its entirety or at all. It's rich with emotion and dialogue and narrative. It moves quickly in the first half and slower in the second. The need to make things right, redemption, is the theme of this story. How it gets done... Well, that's what made it worth reading.
Amanda has loved romance since she read that very first Kathleen E. Woodiwiss novel at fifteen. After a long detour into a career as a costume designer in theatre, she’s found her way back to romance, this time as a writer.
A native Floridian, Amanda transplanted to New York City many years ago and now considers Brooklyn home, along with her husband, daughter, two cats, and nowhere near enough space.