Title: Jilting the Duke
Series: The Muses' Salon, Book 1
Author: Rachael Miles
Publisher: Zebra Shout
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Genre: Historical, Romance
ARC Received From: NetGalley
Reviewed For: Tasty Book Tours
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Broken Promise, Broken Heart
Aidan Somerville, Duke of Forster, is a rake, a spy, and a soldier, richer than sin and twice as handsome. Now he is also guardian to his deceased best friend’s young son. The choice makes perfect sense—except that the child’s mother is the lovely Sophia Gardiner, to whom Aidan was engaged before he went off to war. When the news reached him that she had married another, his ship had not yet even left the dock.
Sophia does not expect Aidan to understand or forgive her. But she cannot allow him to stay her enemy. She’s prepared for coldness, even vengeance—but not for the return of the heedless lust she and Aidan tumbled into ten years ago. She knows the risks of succumbing to this dangerous desire. Still, with Aidan so near, it’s impossible not to dream about a second chance…
It's amazing how things can work out, even if it takes years.
Aidan and Sophia were on the cusp of having it all until a mistake, bad timing, misunderstanding, and miscommunication took it all away. Their story really wasn't that complicated. Once engaged to be married, Aidan left for war and Sophia promised to wait for him. That promise was almost immediately broken and she found herself wed to Tom, an incredible man with a huge heart. He saved her from ruin, gave her a title, and made her child his heir. But theirs was a marriage that was never supposed to happen. Her heart still longed for Aidan, and Tom's longed for his own love.
Tom's wishes brings Aidan and Sophia together again as co-guardians to her son, Ian. Their first meeting was hard to read. Aidan's anger and need for vengeance on the woman he believed wronged him ran so strong I was surprised Sophia didn't choke on it. His feelings were relevant but he had to suspect something else had happened, right? From that meeting, something felt... Off? Weird? Unsaid? Pick a word but there was something Sophia wasn't saying to Aidan. Finding out what it was close to the end had me wishing it'd been said earlier. The animosity between them would have been pacified but they would have missed out on getting reacquainted the way they did.
Their past was the elephant in the room but, thank God, it wasn't what kept them apart.
One aspect of this story I hope others appreciate like I did are the premonitions and dreams woven into it. Sophia's late husband plays a huge part in them and they act as guides for both Sophia and Aidan.
I enjoyed this story immensely, not just for the romance but for the change in both Aidan and Sophia. She'd changed because of the life she lived, of the love she lost, but Aidan gave her a reason to smile again, to love again. The man I met at the beginning was not the man at the end. Aidan was happier, lighter, braver. He made amends for his mistake and gave back to Sophia what she was always meant to have: his heart. The future was brighter and promising because they found in themselves the willingness to change, forgive, and move on.
Rachael Miles has always loved a good romance, especially one with a bit of suspense and preferably a ghost. She is also a professor of book history and nineteenth-century literature whose students frequently find themselves reading the novels of Ann Radcliffe and other gothic tales. Rachael lives in her home state of Texas with her indulgent husband, three rescued dogs, and an ancient cat.