About the Book:
Title: A Duchess by Midnight
Author: Charis Michaels
Series: Awakened by a Kiss #3
Page Length: 384
Publication Date: July 26, 2022
Publisher: Avon Books
Synopsis: A Former Ugly Duckling…
Miss Drewsmina “Drew” Trelayne is a former awkward child and one-time wicked stepsister. Raised by a bitter, overbearing mother, Drew is all grown up and has made peace with her orange hair and bean-pole height. Her transformation has inspired her dream of opening a finishing school that emphasizes inner beauty, capability, and confidence. But launching a school costs money so Drew must begin with private clients who pay well and don’t ask many questions.
A Reclusive Duke…
Ian Clayback, the Duke of Lachlan, lives alone on his Dorset estate, forced by scandal into a smuggler’s life. When his estranged sister arrives with her two daughters, he feels obligated to give the girls a proper Season. Venturing back to society could clear his name and provide his vagabond nieces with a better life. Who better to help than the striking Miss Trelayne?
A Midnight Kiss…
Affording Drew’s services isn’t a problem for Lachlan, but his growing desire for her is. As his nieces warm to her gentle charm, he is overwhelmed by her unique beauty and open manner. When they’re caught in a scandalous embrace, nothing short of marriage will save all of them from further scandal.
Can a marriage made in haste be love’s saving grace?
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This is such a fun historical romance series. Each book puts a unique spin on classic fairy tales, which I love. This book has total Cinderella vibes, except the protagonist is not Cinderella. It’s her wicked step-sister.
I found Drew’s character really interesting. She is different from the typical historical romance heroine in that she was a mean and vindictive person when she was younger. However, her maltreatment of others, destructive behavior, and mean-spirited attempts to hurt others are in the past, and she is a changed woman. Now much older and wiser, Drew wants to use her experience and growth to help others by becoming a stylist for upcoming debutantes. This is how she meets Ian, who has two nieces in need of assistance.
Ian is an interesting character as well. A scandal in his past has pushed Ian to live a pretty isolated life. However, devoted to his family and determined to help his sister and nieces who have just come to live with him, Ian brings them to London to introduce them to society. At the behest of the prince, Ian begrudgingly agrees to Drew’s assistance, and he soon realizes that Drew is exactly what his family needs. I enjoyed Ian’s character arc and how hard he works to do right by his family and tenants. I also loved his swoon-worthy romance with Drew.
The romance between Drew and Ian is filled with chemistry, and when they are forced to marry after being caught in a compromising situation, the chemistry only intensifies. However, lack of communication, not knowing each other well, and other obstacles stand in the way of their happiness. I like how they begin to open up to and trust each other and show each other their vulnerable sides. And their sexy scenes are super swoon-worthy. One particular scene when they are bird-watching made me want to take up the hobby!
The secondary characters, especially Ian’s sister and nieces, are also really interesting, and I wish their stories and characters were a bit more developed. They all went through so much, and I wanted to know more about their backstories and journeys to understand them better. I would love for one of them to be the focus of a future novel, as each of their stories is compelling.
This is an entertaining addition to the series, and I enjoyed the fairy tale elements, the romance, and the inclusion of some unique sub-plots. I would recommend the book to readers of historical romance, and though it is the third book in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone. Thanks so much to NetGalley, Avon Books, and the author for providing me with an advanced copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
- The romance!!
- The characters.
- The fairy tale elements.
Ignorance is a very great enemy, and it’s fought with careful study.
There is a difference between having someone worry on your behalf and having someone restrict you for the sake of control.
A crucial part of moving on is making improvements to yourself so you can rise up, better than before. Also, allowing yourself to seek help. From others.
You deserve to be heard.