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The French Duchess - Duchess Series Book One is a Best Books '23 pick #regency #romance #giveaway

Title: The French Duchess - Duchess Series Book One


Author: Rue Allyn


Genre: Regency Era Second Chance at Love Romance


Book Blurb:


To save the man she loves she will sacrifice everything family, friends, honor . . . even her life.


When Marielle Petersham gives her heart to a man he dies. Then a small indiscretion destroys her reputation and her chance at true love. When the British government sends a former beau to investigate her connections with France, she's torn between fury and longing for a man she should not love.

Captain Richard Campion desired her once, but she rejected him. He dare not trust her with his love a second time. Convinced she is plotting a royal assassination, he must see her hang for treason, even if it breaks his heart again.

Will he learn the truth before it's too late, or will betrayal see them both dead?



April 2, 1814, Brighton outskirts


As the inn door closed behind her, silence fell in the entry hall, and the gaze of three men, the innkeeper, and a woman whose dress identified her as the innkeeper’s wife all turned on Mari.


“My good man.” She swept toward the innkeeper and set down her single piece of luggage. “I will require a private chamber, a hot bath and a meal, served in my room, in that order.”


The men stared. The innkeeper’s jaw dropped, and the goodwife’s face reddened. She pushed her way to the center of the circle of men, and looked Mari up and down.


The woman’s lip curled. “We ain’t got no private chambers nor baths for the likes of ye. An’ y’ll takes yer meals in the common room, likes all the other common folk. If ye gots the coin to pay fer it, that is.”


Mari drew herself up to give the dame the set down she deserved but closed her mouth on the words. She could hardly act the duchess if she was supposed to be a governess on her way to a new post. The glow of satisfaction that her dowdy garb had succeeded battled with the icy disdain the goodwife’s demeanor deserved. Mari lowered her gaze and twisted her hands in an attempt at embarrassed humility.


“Well?” Mari watched the leather-shod toe of the other woman’s foot tap impatiently.


“Ahem, yes, well, that is, I would very much appreciate a private chamber.” Mari lifted her head and unclasped her hands to reach for her reticule. “If one is available. My employer provided me with funds, so I can pay. I’m willing to forgo the bath and will happily dine in the common room. I certainly would not wish to put such kind hosts to any trouble.”


“Hmpf. I’ll not take cheek from…”


“Wife,” the innkeeper warned. Mari glanced at him. “The miss says she can pay. Send Gertie to prepare the front chamber on the right side. I’ll take care of business with Miss . . . ?”


“Twitchenholm.” Mari supplied the name on her travel papers. “Miss Anthea Twitchenholm.”


“Well, Miss Twitchenholm, how long will you be staying with us?”


His wife harrumphed, turned, and clumped off toward the back of the inn where Mari could hear her haranguing several employees.


Deprived of entertainment, the three men drifted away toward the common room, and behind Mari the inn door opened, letting in a gust of wind and rain along with the newest arrival.


“Only tonight, sir. I must be at the docks tomorrow if I am to meet Major Standish of the 16th Regiment before he leaves for Marseille. I’m to be governess to his three daughters.” She chattered rapidly in hopes of covering over her earlier, too noble demeanor, stopping only when she realized she revealed too much information.


“Then I suppose ye’d like to retire as soon as possible. Just sign the register, pay fer yer room and board, and my wife will escort ye above stairs. Supper will be served in an hour.”


“Thank you.” Mari signed and provided enough coins to cover the cost of the room and her dinner. She lifted her traveling bag just as the goodwife arrived. The woman eyed Mari closely but said nothing, just led the way up two flights of stairs to a small, cozy chamber.


“Charming,” said Mari.


“We run a respectable house, miss.”


“That’s gratifying to know,” Mari said, ducking her head in dismissive humility. The innkeeper’s wife studied her guest before leaving with a rustle of starched skirts. Mari closed and locked the door and heaved a great sigh. She had to be much more careful in the future. The fate of Europe and the Petersham name depended on the success of her venture. She could not afford to fail before she’d truly begun.


Hero Bio— Captain Sir Richard Campion, second son of Baron Gadliegh, is considered a hero of Wellington's Spanish campaigns, and his dedication to England is beyond question. He has no tolerance for deception of any kind and resents the lengths to which his socially ambitious father will go to see that all of his sons receive titles. Richard lost the love of his live to his best friend Jennings and now believes that the woman in question betrayed both her country and her love.


Heroine Bio—Marielle Petersham, Duchess of Stonegreave in her own right, retired from society under a cloud of scandal. She is determined to restore her reputation, and resume her place in society. However, news reaches her of a French plot involving her cousin. The plot, if discovered, could destroy the reputation of her family and her duchy. She will sacrifice everything to prevent this disaster.


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What makes your featured book a must-read?  


First in series The French Duchess is a non-stop, high stakes historical romance adventure. Get your copy today. (Free with KU)


Giveaway –


Enter to win a $45 Amazon gift card:



Open Internationally.

Runs December 18 – December 31, 2023.

Winner will be drawn on January 2, 2024.


Author Biography:  


Award winning author of historical romances, Rue Allyn fell in love with happily ever after the day she heard her first story. (She claims she was a precocious little brat who read at the age of two but could hear much earlier than that.) She studied literature for far too many years before discovering that writing stories was much more fun than writing about them. One of her greatest pleasures as an author is being able to read the story before anyone else. Rue is happily married to her sweetheart of many, many years. Insatiably curious, an avid reader and traveler, she loves to hear from readers about their favorite books and real-life adventures. Crazy Cat stories are especially welcome. You can contact her at She can't wait to hear from you.


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