Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Between the Duke and the Deep Blue Sea by Sophia Nash


This was a fun and magical journey and I enjoyed almost every moment of it. It starts out Hangover style with the prince and his cadre of dukes assembled, unable to remember the night of debauchery that followed an absinthe bender. As they read over their actions in the following day's scandal sheets, the infuriated prince decides to hand out punishments left and right. Alex is banished to Cornwall and told to settle down and take a wife, and it is here, on his way to his ducal seat, that he meets the heroine, Roxanne.

Roxanne is a countess and the daughter of a wealthy tin miners' daughter. However her husband has tired of her and after nudging her off the edge of the cliff and spending several hours "going for help," she is forced to tackle the unseemly truth that he wanted her death. Luckily, Alex happens to be passing by at that moment and he rescues her.

What happens next is kind of a comedy of errors. Roxanne decides to get revenge on her husband with Alex's help. In the meantime, he lets her stay with him as a distant cousin where she has a ringside seat to all of the local women who want to make a play for Alex's hand. I can see why some readers found this part frustrating because there are a lot of characters to keep track of and some light OW drama, but there's also some wonderful female friendships and conversations about jealousy, feminism, and love that are absolutely wonderful and progressive, while still being period appropriate.

This was almost a five for me but I think it was drawn out for too long and I would have liked more of a dramatic final confrontation with Roxanne's awful husband. But apart from that it was a steamy romance with likable characters and a flighty heroine who is unapologetically herself in a way that kind of reminded me of one of my favorite heroines, Fenella, from my friend Heather Crews's romance, WILDFLOWER HEART. I also thought the ending was quite cute. I own books two and three and wasn't sure about this series, but it managed to balance humor and romance quite deftly, so I'm really excited to read them.

3.5 to 4 out of 5 stars

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