Generally engaging, despite the daft bit towards the end!,
This review is from: When You Wish Upon a Duke (Wylder Sisters) (Mass Market Paperback)
I'd have given this a higher rating were it not for something daft which happens towards the end.
Charlotte Wylder and the Duke of Marchborne have been betrothed since they were children, although it comes as rather a shock to Charlotte, who knew nothing about it until she was eighteen. But she and March are both young, attractive and wealthy and are well disposed towards each other from their first meeting; it's clear that before long, this initial liking will blossom into more.
Charlotte has a very open and engaging manner - she's like a breath of fresh air to March, who inherited his dukedom at a young age, and has therefore spent most of his life surrounded by the trappings of his title and who has always striven to act as a duke should.
Unfortunately however, the well-meaning advice of Charlotte's aunt and March's cousin serves to cause discord between the pair. Aunt Sophronia is constantly cautioning Charlotte that she must moderate her behaviour to that becoming a duchess, and unfortunately, extends this advice to the bedroom, telling Charlotte that she must act like a duchess in bed and basically lie back and think of England. No thrashing about and wailing allowed, or her husband will think she's behaving like a common harlot.
March has a few skeletons in the cupboard which encourage him to believe that it is wrong to burden his beloved with bouts of energetic sex and as a result, he shags her stupid on their wedding night and then is promptly overcome with remorse for his crude and animalistic behaviour and leaves her (and the wet patch!) to sleep alone. Charlotte, having enjoyed herself immensely is left to wonder what she's done wrong.
So what looked like a promising relationship very quickly becomes stilted, with both of them trying to do what they think the other must want, but never actually discussing it - although Charlotte does try.
I like stories where the principal focus is on the relationship between the characters, so I enjoyed the book as March and Charlotte attempted to put things right between them.
But I knocked the half-star off for the ridiculous duel scene towards the end. There are plenty of scenes in HRs where the heroine rushes off to the field of honour in order to try to prevent her beloved from fighting a duel. But I don't think I've ever come across such a daft method of prevention as the one Charlotte comes up with. She is already pregnant enough that she needs her dresses let out, yet she clmbs a tree at the appointed spot with the intention of pelting her husband's opponent with (wait for it) apples in which she has put some broken glass. And as if that isn't stupid enough, she enlists the help of her strict and proper aunt! I can just about tolerate a stupid plot device, but the character transplant necessary for the aunt is taking it a bit too far.
On the whole, then, this is a charming, easy read - apart from the silly duel scene towards the end!