Book Review: Secrets of An Accidental Duchess by Jennifer Haymore

Secrets of An Accidental Duchess by Jennifer Haymore made me sad that I have yet to read the first book in the Donovan sister series, Confessions of an Improper Bride. Which is something I should rectify soon. Olivia Donovan is treated like a porcelain doll by her sister, like she might break at any moment. While this concern might be anchored in good intentions, since she can develop a serious fever at any time due to contracting malaria as a child. Her delicate appearance does not help her in this regard at all. however, Olivia is a lot stronger than anyone seems to believe. She is smart, independent, and bold with no way to enjoy some freedom other than her daily walks. Max spots the ethereal Olivia across a crowded ballroom in London, and is goaded into a bet with an acquaintance. little did he know that that bet, and the madman he made it with, would cause so much danger and destruction.

Secrets of An Accidental Duchess was a well paced romance. I liked that the story did not end as soon as the pair came together, or after max's poor decisions came to light. the villain and other side of Max's bet, Fenwicke, is a sociopath and all things bad about the male members of society. I think that he was a little one dimensional with no background or reason behind his attitude or actions, but he is terrifying none the less. there are some suspenseful moments, and some good intimate movements as well. The story was well rounded, well paced, and very involving. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read the first book in the series, since there were multiple references to one of her sister's marriage and some intense family activity. However, the missing bits of background did not make Olivia and Max any less real or interesting, it only effected the understanding of family dynamics and how certain people came to be part of their inner circle. There was also some serious set up for the next book in the series, Pleasures of a Tempted Lady, which I will have to read when it comes out in August of 2012.

I recommend Secrets of An Accidental Duchess to fans of romance that offers more that insta-love between the main characters. i think readers that have ever felt stifled by overprotective family will especially enjoy Olivia's character, particularly her true strength. Jennifer Haymore is an author that I am going to explore further, now that I have been treated to her well developed heroines.
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