The Reluctant Duchess (Bethany House Book Review)

I don't know if you read much Christian Fiction, but Roseanna M. White is a really good author.  I first discovered her while reading her first book in the Ladies of the Manor series called, "The Lost Heiress," which I reviewed here.

This book picks the up the story from the previous book, though you could read this one without reading that one first, but why? :)

Here is what the publisher says about this book - 

Lady Rowena Kinnaird may be the heiress to a Highland earldom, but she's never felt good enough--not for her father, not for the man she thought she'd marry, not for God. But after a shocking attack, she's willing to be forever an outcast if it means escaping those threatening her life.

Brice Myerston, the Duke of Nottingham, has never been one to shy away from manor-born ladies, yet the last thing he needs is the distraction of the newly introduced Lady Rowena. He has enough on his plate having recently come into possession of a rare treasure for which many would kill, yet those around him seem intent on pairing him with this desperate but beguiling girl.

Rowena is reluctant to marry this notorious flirt. And when she learns that Brice is mixed up in some kind of questionable business with a stolen treasure, she fears she'll end up in more danger than she fled.

In this book, the author deals with some difficult subjects (physical abuse, verbal abuse, and rape) without having the readers experience them while they happen.  We know they've happened through the emotions that Rowena deals with, her memories of certain events, and the way that these things have shaped her thoughts about herself.  Mrs. White handles these difficult subjects very carefully, but I would say that they could be triggers for those who've experienced this kind of abuse.

I enjoyed the fact that the character of the Duke of Nottingham is, while flirtatious socially, a strong Christian who has a close relationship to the Lord, and this in fact is how he chooses to marry Rowena.

There is also the ongoing story line of the Fire Eyes - Red Diamonds that some believe are cursed.  A brother and sister in Brice's social circle want these stones, believing that they have the right to them, and will stop at nothing to get them.  The sister ingratiates herself with Rowena (who feels sorry for her and recognizes one who grew up with abuse, also).  It's a story of redemption, and compassion.

At the climax of the book, Rowena's abusers both show up.  Rowena's father has come to warn them about her other abuser coming.  Rowena and her father have words about his treatment of her, I appreciated that the author allowed us insight into the situation, but didn't "make it all better."

This book series also has given us some upstairs/downstairs scenes, like in Downton Abbey, though not in equal measure as in Downton.

Sarah also read this book, and again she enjoyed it as well, and we had a lot of discussion about it!

I highly recommend this book and the other in this series.  The Roseanna M. White weaves the story lines with depth.  These are not lighthearted romance novels.  I can't wait for the next book in the series.  

Bethany House Publishers provided the book for me to review, but all the opinions are mine.  I received no other compensation.

Cover Art


  1. Not a fan of the genre, but it is interesting that you describe it as not being "lighthearted." Guess with that subject, it would be a challenge to be. Any book that promotes a lot of discussion is doing its job.

  2. As a rule, I don't read Christian fiction. Glad this one held your interest and sparked conversation :)

  3. I have read Christian fiction and enjoy certain authors. This sounds like a good read and I will definitely put it on my list!


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