I have to start out by saying that this book, For Love of the Duke by Christ Caldwell, has a beautiful cover. I've always admired the cover artwork for the Heart of a Duke series. You know those thumbnail sized renditions you see on your favorite internet book shopping site? That is what I admired. But for this book, I have my own copy of the beautiful artwork on a trade paperback book. It is so lovely, I hated to read the book, as in the process, I might accidentally damage the cover.
But I decided not to judge the book by the cover and finally, I opened the book and started reading. As it turns out, the story is just as beautiful as the cover!
A fateful day at the Frost Fair brings Lady Katherine Adamson and Jasper, the 8th Due of Bainbridge, together. As soon as they meet it is more than evident that neither is impressed by the other and therefore have no reason to ever associate with one another again. Surly Jasper and critical Katherine part after their introduction. But of course, that is not the last time they will see each other.
Both Katherine and Jasper are damaged. Katherine's father died and left the family destitute, so she never wants to be in such a position that it could happen again. And Jasper's wife died in childbirth, so he swears never to marry again.
This is a romance, so we all know that Katherine and Jasper are going to change their minds. But the question is, how will it happen?
As it happens, Katherine and Jasper share a love of poetry. Not just any poetry, but Wordsworth. Another fateful meeting in a bookstore that has one copy of a book of Wordsworth's poems is the beginning of the courtship. Not that Katherine or Jasper would have called it courtship. But as the reader, I can call it whatever I want.
I love that a book is the catalyst that brings them together. More than once. And whether they want to or not! Eventually, they spend enough time together to form a fiery friendship based on poetry and not a little chemistry. This leads Katherine to suggest an arrangement. In historical romances, 'arrangement' is another word for 'marriage of convenience'. As quickly as the arrangement is accepted by Jasper, Katherine discovers that what he accepted is not what Katherine intended.
Jasper is comfortless, yet caring. Katherine is desperate, yet strong. Both are lonely. When they are together, arguments are often followed by kissing. Either way, sparks fly! The courtship has its ups and downs. The ups are hopeful and sensuous. The downs are frustrating and heartbreaking. All together the ups and downs kept my eyes glued to the pages of my book with the beautiful cover.
Most historical romances I read have something else to recommend them. An element of suspense, mystery, magic or monsters. For Love of the Duke is just romance. That's all. Romance. Which is why I am surprised to give it 5 stars. Odds are, I will even read more from Ms. Caldwell.
So there it is. For Love of the Duke. Beautiful cover, beautiful story!