Ballantine, Jul 2001, 14.50, 384 pp.
In 1794 England, Quinton Hunter, the Duke of Sedgewick, realizes he must marry a moneyed spouse to overcome the fact that his ancestors married for love and enjoyed gambling. Considered by the Ton as the bluest blood in England, Quinton selects the daughter of the nation's richest man, Allegra Morgan, as the obvious target of his affections.
Allegra agreess to marry Quinton, but stipulates that love must never enter their relationship. Interested in the cold cash, Quinton accepts the requirement, vowing not to act like his antecedents. However, Quinton soon learns his blood is as blue as his relatives are because he too falls in love. He fears telling Allegra, but confesses anyway that he loves her, but trouble in war torn France interferes with the duo before they can explore their growing love for one another.
Known for her O'Malley and the erotic novels, Bertrice Small provides her readers with an entertaining Regency romantic suspense with THE DUCHESS. The story line is filled with action even as the impact of the French Revolution augments the intrigue, It also slows down the development of the relationship between Allegra and Quinton. Still Ms. Small furnishes readers with a powerful tale that needs sequels starring the children of the lead protagonists as only the author can provide.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner