HOW TO DAZZLE A DUKE
The slow pace and plethora of characters make this novel problematic. Most of the action takes place in two locales in the space of a week and consists of conversation among the various characters. Understanding the plot depends much upon previous knowledge of the main characters. Still, there is some humor, and the heroine is strong and quirky, which adds some interest to the story.
Penelope Prestwick has decided to marry a duke. Being the intelligent and logical young lady that she is, she seeks the help of Sophia Dalby, former courtesan and matchmaker extraordinaire.
Penelope has set her cap for Duke Edenham but realizes she must develop a strategy for getting him to notice her. She enlists the heir to a dukedom, Lord Iveston, to pretend to court her, hoping this will compel Edenham to choose her for himself. Her plan backfires, nearly causing her to lose all prospects for marrying anyone, let alone a duke. (BERKLEY, Sep., 323 pp., $15.00)