Reviewed by Heather C
Title: The Duchess Hunt
Author: Jennifer Haymore
Series: House of Trent #1
Hero/Heroine: Simon Hawkins/Sarah Osborne
Genre: MF Historical Romance
Length: 375 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: 2013
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: THE DUKE’S DESIRE
Simon Hawkins, duke of Trent, is no stranger to scandal. Rumors and innuendo have darkened the House of Trent for decades, and it has fallen to Simon to restore his tattered family name. He lives by a strict code of honor, but when he is called home to investigate his mother’s disappearance, the distinguished duke will tangle with temptation. For there waits the only woman he has ever loved-and the last woman he should desire . . .
Sarah Osborne has spent her life dreaming of Simon’s touch. But dukes do not long for lady’s maids-or so Sarah believes, until a stolen kiss sparks a passion that could be her ultimate undoing. As the couple begins a forbidden romance, a cunning enemy plots to destroy the duke and everything he loves. Now, caught in a blackmailer’s web, Simon faces an agonizing choice: sacrifice his family’s future or break Sarah’s heart.
Jennifer Haymore is a very new to me author whom I recently discovered when I read and reviewed An Affair in Autumn as part of A Year Without a Duke series. It just so happens that the hero from that book, Markus, is one of the brothers of the heroes in the Trent House series…and I just HAD read more about the Hawkins family and all the scandals surrounding them.
Simon Hawkins, Duke of Trent, despises scandal and has spent many of his years trying to right his family’s reputation after his parents’ many sordid affairs. After receiving a message from Trent House that is mother has gone missing, Simon rushes home to investigate the matter. After a few days of searching without success, Simon and his brothers decide it is best to separate and continue investigating on their own hoping that no one from London society will discover the duchess is missing. Simon feels it is safest for his young sister Esme to return with him to London, along with her newly promoted companion Sarah Osborne.
It has been three years since Simon has kissed Sarah on their bench by the stream. Three years since he has kissed the housemaid…the woman that Simon has trusted and admired since they were both young. Three years, and Simon still can’t get Sarah out of his mind and stop thinking of all the things he wants to do with her. But he could never compromise her in that way.
Sarah has loved Simon ever since he rescued her from a blackberry bush attack sixteen years ago. But Simon could never love her back. Of course he couldn’t, he is a duke after all, and Sarah is a maid. But when Simon asks Sarah to travel with him to London and move into the role of his sister’s companion, Sarah reluctantly agrees. It doesn’t take long before Simon can no longer control himself when it comes to Sarah…and Sarah has no plans to stop him knowing he will break her heart in the end.
I really enjoyed this book as it has all the things I love when reading this sub genre: romance, a little mystery, and lots of scandal.
I liked Simon and Sarah together, even though “noble” Simon liked to piss me off with his determination to protect the reputation of his family from further ruin. Constantly sacrificing himself for those he loved, while hurting the one person he loved the most. Their passion for each other was believable and I never doubted Simon truly loved Sarah, he just took forever to finally realize and accept he could live his own life with the ONE woman he would ever want. Extra points to Simon for figuring out what he needed to do on his own…mostly.
I don’t want to spoiler all the “scandals” involved, but they were your typical plot devices commonly used in Regency Romances to keep the hero and heroine from riding off into the sunset to live happily ever after. I liked ALL of the Hawkins family…especially Sam, Lukas and Esme. I really hoped I could like Robert Johnston, but he turned out to be as miserable of a character as every other non-Hawkins in the book. I will point out that I’m using “non-Hawkins” loosely!
I was really enjoying the mystery of the missing duchess. I truly have no idea what has happened to her!!! (I can’t remember if it was revealed in An Affair in Autumn since that story takes place later on chronologically in this series.) I even like that I STILL do not know!!! Thank gods for series!!
Speaking of series, I can’t decide if I’m more excited for Lukas’s or Esme’s story. It looks like Lukas will be up next in The Rogue’s Proposal, but first I need to read Esme’s next naughty novella His for Christmas.
Overall Impression: I Liked It
*I received a copy of this book from the author in return for a fair and honest review.*