One dedicated country spinster’s life changes forever when she suddenly inherits a fortune — and a fiancé. But Miss Tabitha Timmons never guessed that her life would change all over again when Along Came a Duke — Duke of Preston, that is. What will happen to this mismatched pair? Whitney and Morgan investigate this very question when they Dish about Elizabeth Boyle's newest release.
There was no indication whatsoever that on this day, Miss Tabitha Timmons would not only find herself betrothed, but also fall madly and deeply in love.
And not necessarily with the same man.
Whitney: And while it takes a bit longer for both of these things to officially happen, this beginning certainly grabs the reader’s attention as well as shows us that this book is going to be full of high drama.
Morgan: Drama that begins with the fact that neither the hero nor the heroine want to get married … ever.
Whitney: The Duke of Preston has been cutting a swath through the ton kissing (and ruining) young ladies of gentle breeding.
Morgan: In his defense, these ladies are certainly their own worst enemies, following Preston, a blond “Adonis” with a title and healthy bank account, into darkened gardens and hidden balconies.
Whitney: Regardless, Preston is not above taking advantage of a situation that presents itself.
Morgan: While Tabitha Timmons, on the other hand, doesn’t have any advantages to take. When the story opens she is happily trapped in the village of Kempton. The only unhappy part is that she’s living with a curmudgeon of an aunt and a hypocritical vicar for an uncle … oh, and Tabitha is being used as a scullery maid in her childhood home.
Whitney: So while Tabitha claims she doesn’t want or need a husband, she also hasn’t had the chance to meet many men.
Morgan: There’s that ... and the infamous Kempton curse.
Whitney: Ah, yes, the Kempton village women are said not to be able to wed without dire consequences. Consequences that generally come in the form of a new spouse’s tragic accident.
Morgan: So, by will or by design, Tabitha is single with only her dog, Mr. Muggins and a few good friends from her charity league to keep her company. Tabby thinks her plan to live life as a spinster is just fine, and when she is introduced to Preston, she immediately lets him know her feelings on the subject:
“There is nothing wrong with a lady who knows her own mind and chooses not to be ruled by a man and his arrogance.”
Whitney: To say that Tabitha is less than impressed when she meets Preston is an understatement — but these feelings go both ways. Preston replies to her declaration with an attitude that is just less than scorn.
“And do all the young ladies of this town share that trait? … Then I would say it isn’t the ladies of this village who are cursed, but every man within fifty miles.”
Morgan: In a horribly ironic twist of fate, within just hours of this confrontation Tabitha finds herself engaged!
Whitney: Because she comes into an inheritance and a fiancé all at once, and neither of her own choosing.
Morgan: And this money will be lost unless she marries the suitor that her recently deceased uncle picked.
Whitney: Enter Tabby’s totally unengaging suitor Mr. Barkworth.
Morgan: Tabby and Barkworth — hardly a confidence-inspiring match.
Whitney: Well, their first meeting certainly doesn’t leave Tabby with the warm fuzzies.
Morgan: But it does have her feeling like Barkworth is inspecting her like a horse ... or a good milk cow.
Whitney: Certainly not what a woman dreams of for her first meeting with her intended.
Morgan: I would take the delightfully scandalous Duke of Preston any day!
Whitney: I think you aren’t alone in that. Even if Preston weren’t a duke, he’s enchanting, funny and passionate.
Morgan: Plus he’s got those hidden depths —
Whitney: A deep emotional secret that would tempt any woman to unlock his heart.
Morgan: And after getting acquainted with Preston when she travels to London, Tabitha certainly feels up to the task of taming the duke.
Morgan: But what could make this dedicated bachelor and notorious ladies man settle down? Why nothing less than a woman with wit, unique charm and refusal to take anything he says seriously.
Whitney: Lucky for him, he gets the complete package with Tabby.
Morgan: And for Tabby, the attraction is pretty clear: Preston listens to her. The things she says are important to him, even if she is only discussing gossip in the tiny village of Kempton.
Whitney: If only there weren’t that little matter of Tabby having to wed Barkworth or lose her inheritance and be forced back to living in her aunt and uncle’s attic in Kempton ...
Morgan: Have faith! A man like Preston is not above using scandal and other tactics to win the woman of his heart.
Whitney: Which is just another reason why readers will fall in love with the rogue, much like Tabby does!
Will there be a happily ever after for Tabby and Preston (or Tabby and Barkworth)? To find out you’ll have to read Along Came a Duke by Elizabeth Boyle. And be sure to check back next week when Morgan and Elisa Dish about The Taken by Vicki Pettersson.