In my reading experience, usually the last installment in a trilogy or series is not always the best. The best is generally the first where the concept and characters are the freshest. Not in this case though. Celeste Bradley's The Heiress Brides ends on a particularly high note with "Duke Most Wanted" and is, in my opinion, the best installment of the three.
Of the three Pickering cousins, Sophie Blake, who everyone considered plain beyond redemption and so unmarriageable, was the only cousin who had come to London not to find a duke and so win her grandfather's bequest, but in order to escape the drudgery of her life with her demanding and peevish mother in Acton. And now that her beautiful cousin, Deirdre, has married the Duke of Brookmoor's elder son, bookish and intellectual Sophie feels that she is free to enjoy herself reading books, translating and spending time with the one gentleman she has lost her heart to, Lord Graham Cavendish. Handsome, charming, almost penniless and a womaniser, Graham doesn't see Sophie as a romantic prospect but as a good friend he can relax and have conversation with. And Sophie is almost content to let things remain as they are. That is until Graham's father and his elder brothers unexpectedly die, and Graham finds himself the new penniless Duke of Edencourt. Now, Graham must marry for money or else loose his lands and his home. Can Sophie allow Graham to marry another, or will she decide to finally compete for Graham's love and attention?
I enjoyed "Duke Most Wanted" quite a bit. Like a few of the other reviewers, I didn't think think that the plot twist was necessary. This novel really hinges on the strong and winning character of Sophie Blake. I thoroughly enjoyed all the scenes between Sophie and Graham, they were filled with wit, humour and sexual tension that was quite delicious. Did the unexpected plot twist, darkly hinted at throughout the novel, do the novel irretrievable harm? I don't think so; but I do think that it might have been a much stronger read without it (as well as the inevitable last few chapters when character from the previous two books turn up to tie things up neatly -- and really I could have done without the reappearance of Calder's precocious child, Meggie). All in all, however, "Duke Most Wanted" was an enjoyable and rather wonderfully romantic read. Both Sophie and Graham were wonderful romantic leads, with a story worthy of them. Definitely worth recommending.