Title: A Hand for the Duke (The Ladies' Wagering Whist Society Book 1)
Author: Meredith Bond
Genre: Regency Romance
Can the Ladies of the Wagering Whist Society help an impoverished modiste win the hand of a sought-after Duke?
Tina Rowan is beautiful, talented—and wants nothing more than to be free of her past. The illegitimate daughter of a baroness, she is being blackmailed by her own foster-father. She must rely on her flair for designing dresses to earn enough to pay him off. Starting a business dressing the ladies of Regency society isn’t easy for a nobody. But Tina has three aces up her sleeve—her own amazing talent, her well-connected biological mother, and the helpful (if meddlesome) support of the Ladies’ Wagering Whist Society.
The handsome, arrogant Duke of Warwick has grown up schooled in the “proper” way for a nobleman to behave. Rule number one: do not fraternize with people of the lower classes. But when he has to introduce his beloved sister to society, he finds himself completely reliant on the beguiling woman he’s hired as his sister’s modiste. To his astonishment, he finds himself opening up to her and enjoying her company far, far too much.
When Tina discovers the true man behind the ducal title, her heart might very well be lost. But can the duke set aside his façade and allow himself to love the only woman who could possibly make him happy?
It will take the combined efforts of the Ladies’ Wagering Whist Society to see this difficult hand well played.
Tina Rowen is the illegitimate daughter of her mother, Lady Norman. Her foster father is a greedy bastard who tries to trap Tina into marrying his brute of a son, Caleb. But sneaky Tina outsmarts him. She heads for London and with the help of her mother, becomes a popular modiste among the ton. When she is summoned by the Duke of Warwick to create two dresses for his sister, she’s unsure what to make of the duke. He’s borderline rude and standoffish. But the more she’s around him, the more her feelings grow. She knows nothing can come of it, or can it? When her birth father, whom she’s never met, insists on her coming out and taking his name, the Duke of Warwick proposes. Is he proposing because he loves her or because she’s now considered acceptable? With the help of the Ladies’ Wagering Whist Society, Tina will discover Warwick’s true feelings.
A Hand for the Duke is a compelling Regency romance with heart. The characters are a delightful mix of the ton with their own backstories. I especially liked the women of the Ladies’ Wagering Whist Society. The romance between Tina and Warwick is slow-burning and very sweet. A few kisses but nothing more. Emotional read with a realistic view on issues such as infidelity and a baby out of wedlock. Meredith Bond’s descriptive narration transported me to Regency England. The growth of Warwick and his sister added more depth to the story.
I don’t say this often but fans of Pride and Prejudice will love this book. Highly recommend!
Favorite Character/Quote: Tina, hands down. Her spunk and tenacity, not often seen in this era, secured my affection for her. Her talent for designing gowns is impressive and I loved the detailed description of the gowns. She goes through a lot in this book but it’s her spirit which makes her shine. Brilliant!
My Rating: 5 stars
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Meredith Bond's books straddle that beautiful line between historical romance and fantasy. An award-winning author, she writes fun, traditional Regency romances, medieval Arthurian romances, and Regency romances with a touch of magic. Known for her characters “who slip readily into one’s heart,” Meredith loves to take her readers on a journey they won't soon forget. She is currently living in Europe enjoying the Bohemian life.
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Come visit Meredith at her website, www.meredithbond.com Sign up for her monthly newsletter at http://meredithbond.com/subscribe/ Find her on Facebook www.facebook.com/meredithbondauthor Talk on Twitter @merrybond
Reviewed by: Mrs. N