Lady Vivian Defies a Duke
by Samantha Grace
(Sourcebooks, $6.99, PG13) ISBN 978-1-4022-5840-4
****
Lady Vivian Worth is a lady by birth but a naturally curious, wonderfully impulsive heroine in Lady Vivian Defies a Duke.

Vivian, a young lady past her first nonexistent season, has been left to her own devices at Brighthurst House by her older brother, it seems indefinitely. It doesn't bother Vivi, and she's never been the type to mix well with society, being too outspoken and sharp tongued to be considered a properly brought up young woman. While Vivian can easily put on the charm and decorum that she's been taught, she prefers to be free to do as she pleases. At Brighthurst House, no one gossips about what she might have done in her past, or how she slips out to skinnydip, shoots a gun or rides a horse astride.

It's never really seemed to matter until Vivian receives a letter that she's been betrothed by her absent brother to Luke Forest, the Duke of Foxhaven. Vivian's surprised but resigned to hear the news as the deal is done and she intends to enjoy every moment of her precious freedom while she still has it.

Luke Forest has just been named the Duke of Foxhaven, and it's not exactly been a blessing. He isn't upset at his inheritance but he doesn't really need it. And to find out that he has an unknown bride to go with it, he's uncertain about what to do, but he knows he doesn't want a predictable, settled married life with a bland society miss.

Luke visits Brighthurst to make his apologies to his betrothed and cancel their arrangement when he stumbles upon a gorgeous young woman swimming in her chemise. She gets away from him quickly, but when Luke arrives at the manor, he quickly recognizes that Lady Vivian, his betrothed, is the water sprite that he ran into at the spring. Things have just become a whole lot more interesting, as Luke's plan has just begun to unravel.

Lady Vivian Defies a Duke is a charming Regency love story, with plenty of spunk.

Vivian is a wonderful heroine, larger than life and like a modern woman trapped in a time when women didn't have as many life choices in their control. It makes it very easy to identify with her and share her story.

Luke is eminently likeable and totally sexy. He goes from ducal to real man in a very easy transition; it's impossible not to like him. His courting and struggle not to like Vivian seduces the reader and pushes the story along.

While the storyline is definitely tritely predictable, the dialogue and flow is not and those strengths are what make this tale a strong four heart read.

--Amy Wroblewsky


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