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The Way to A Duke’s Heart
by Caroline Linden
(Avon, $7.99, PG-13) ISBN 978006-202534-0
***
For many readers, “The Truth About the Duke” is a series that has been engaging. I read the first book, One Night In London and now this is the third of the series. The premise has to do with the Duke of Durham who may have been married and not divorced before his accepted marriage which resulted in three sons, Charles, Edward and Gerald. Upon his deathbed, he came clean, leaving his sons with the necessity of proving their heritage. This is Charles’ story, the heir.

Charles is not a man one can easily like. He has spent most of his life being trained to be a duke, but got in a snit with his father over a young woman he felt he was in love with. When his father threatened to cut him off, he left and did not speak to his father again. He proudly spent his time drinking and spending time with women who would not be accepted as a candidate for a duchess. Now with Gerald and Edward married, it is up to Charles alone to pursue the leads and determine the truth. He finds himself in Bath, heading to a mining town in search of a man named Hiram Scott. He also finds a lady who is meeting with Scott, thus making her suspicious.

Tessa Neville was hurt as a young girl by a man she trusted. She has sworn off men and instead has made herself irreplaceable to her brother, a viscount. She is his investment advisor. She is in Bath to meet with Mr. Scott and determine if his mines and canals are a solid investment. She and Charlie get mixed up together, fight their attraction and try to solve the mystery.

This book was extremely hard to get into. I found it slow going with little action and a lot of backstory. Charlie is a ne’er do well and has to redeem himself since he readily acknowledges that he has done nothing but carouse away most of the last few years. He does seem to grow up during this journey, without losing his charm and humor. Meanwhile, Tessa is a bitter spinsterish woman for much of the first half of the book. As they fall in love, she does warm up a great deal.

There are a lot of other characters that, at first, are difficult to differentiate and figure out their relationships. It is more than half way through before learning the full story of Tessa’s life and relationships with her family. This added to the sense of unease at the beginning of the book. The story picks up as it nears the end and does solve the mystery, while all of the previous characters of the series make an appearance. The ending saves the tale, but for me, The Way to a Duke’s Heart was just a satisfactory story because of the slow start.

--Shirley Lyons


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