HOW TO MARRY A DUKE
Dreiling’s delightful debut combines the rituals of Regency courtship with TV’s The Bachelor. Even when the pacing flags, the inherent charm of the characters (especially the dowager duchess) keeps the pages flying until the surprising and satisfying conclusion. Dreiling is definitely a newcomer to watch.
Tristan, Duke of Shelbourne, is determined to find a wife, but all he sees about him are the silly chits. Then he meets Tessa Mansfield, matchmaker to the ton, whose wit and beauty intrigue him. When Tristan hires her to find him a wife, she is determined to succeed. She organizes a contest with 24 debutantes desiring to be a duchess. As the contest moves from drawing rooms to boats, ballrooms to the opera, eliminations begin, but when Tristan steals a kiss from Tessa the rules change. Passion flares between them but Tessa harbors a secret. Blackmail and a near-kidnapping threaten everything, but threats to Tessa force Tristan to reassess his idea of marriage. (FOREVER, Jan., 400 pp., $7.99)