About the Book:
Title: The Duke of Disorder
Author: Anna St. Claire
Series: The Rakes of Mayhem #3
Publication Date: March 18, 2022
Publisher: Dragonblade Publishing
Synopsis: He saves her from a runaway horse. Too late, she realizes her hero is the man she left years ago for another.
Lucas Pemberton, the fourth Duke of Dorman, enjoys the freedom life affords him and has no plans for marriage, having experienced the fickle nature of women years ago. On the way home, a woman’s piercing scream and an out-of-control horse grab his attention. He rescues her, only to discover that she is the woman who had spurned his affections years ago in favor of another.
Unexpectedly, he becomes guardian to two young women—a forgotten promise made long ago. A confirmed bachelor, Lucas finds himself wholly unprepared for the challenges his wards create and force him to seek a solution.
Newly widowed, Lady Harriett Dudley flees her dead husband’s home, and vows to never relinquish her freedom to any man. Distracted by threats from his family, she is almost killed when something spooks her horse, only to be saved by the man who had professed his affection the very day her father betrothed her to another.
Did she owe him an explanation? Would he understand? Could forgiveness revive a long-ago courtship and give them an opportunity to experience everlasting happiness?
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Newly widowed and free of an abusive husband, Lady Harriet Dudley vows never to give up her independence to a man. When her horse is spooked, Harriet is rescued by her first love, Lucas Pemberton, the Duke of Dorman. Lucas has no desire to marry, especially after having his heart broken when he went to ask for Harriet’s hand only to learn her father married her to another. However, Harriet and Lucas quickly realize that old feelings still remain.
This is the third book in the Rakes of Mayhem series, and I was eager to read it after being introduced to the characters in the earlier books. Harriet and Lucas are well-developed protagonists, and I like how they slowly work their way back to each other. They have a lot to work through because of their complicated past and the feelings they still share, and they both have to face their fears before finding happiness with each other. They have great chemistry, and I liked their love story.
No one ever understood why Harriet’s father arranged a marriage between her and such a loathsome man, especially since everyone knew how much she cared for Lucas. Harriet’s father staunchly refuses to explain himself, which has fractured many relationships. Then, when her husband’s heir contacts her, Harriet worries the past is coming back to haunt her. Harriet has suffered so much. Abused, separated from her family, cut off from society, and completely controlled by her husband, Harriet searches for answers while trying to reconnect with those she missed most.
I love Harriet’s relationship with her sister. They have a strong bond, and when they’re together, it’s almost as if no time has passed. I also really liked Lucas’s mother. She and Harriet’s sister work together to reunite Lucas and Harriet, and they are a great team. Other characters, like Lucas’s friends and his wards, are also wonderful additions to the story. Lucas’s youngest ward is a delight! She’s so fun and spunky, and she’s a little troublemaker but in the cutest of ways.
Overall, I enjoyed the story, though I wanted more resolution and apology from Harriet’s father, especially after all Harriet went through. There are definite messages throughout the story about the lack of choice women had and the control med exerted over the women in their lives. Other messages about friendship, family, and taking chances, as well as the lovely romance, balance the story well.
Special thanks to NetGalley, Dragonblade Publishing, and the author for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
- The romance.
- The secondary characters.
Though this is the third book in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone. I would recommend checking the content warnings, as there are some aspects of the story that might trigger readers.