Love Letters From a Duke
If you are looking for a meaty story with angst and heartache galore, you will definitely not find it here. The characters from Love Letters From a Duke are a bit loopy and the plot a tad ridiculous, but I found myself having a good time as I read. If you want to read a screwball historical romance, Elizabeth Boyle is definitely the author to pull it off.
The premise is all about identity and appearances. Felicity Langley is a young lady who knows how important appearances and money are. She has been corresponding for the past four years with the Marquess of Standon. Felicity thinks she has changed his life with her thought-provoking words and assumes he plans to marry her, thus saving both her and her twin sister from the poorhouse. What she doesn’t know is that her introduction letter was intercepted by Standon’s grandfather, the Duke of Hollindrake. He found Felicity’s letter to be a hoot because she bluntly asks for his grandson’s hand in marriage. The old man decides to pretend to be his grandson so when he returns from fighting in the Peninsula, he will have a fiancée waiting for him.
Standon or Thatcher, as he likes to be called, was clueless as to what his grandfather was up to for all those years and only comes to learn of the scheme after the older man’s death. He is not ready for a wife, especially one he has never met, so he decides to visit Miss Langley and talk to her about this huge mistake.
Felicity and her sister Thalia have “borrowed” a townhouse in Mayfair so they can have their London season. They barely have enough money to make ends meet because their father’s solicitor is a pinchpenny, and with good old dad away romping throughout the Continent, they can’t access any funds for new dresses, servants, or even rent a house. Because of Felicity’s ingenuity, she manages to land a London house right next to the one belonging to “her” marquess, so she will finally have a way to meet the man of her dreams. Because the Langley sisters also want the favor of the ton, they must at least employ a footman. They think that by having a footman, people will assume that they have money, but as Thatcher comes to call, Felicity mistakenly thinks he is the footman they have requested. Thatcher doesn’t correct her, and from that point he goes along with the farce so he can get to know this beautiful – and highly eccentric – young lady.
I kept trying to figure out what made me enjoy this story so much when others like it have failed miserably. Part is due to the witty writing and wonderful characters of Felicity and Thatcher. They are, simply put, kind people who care about those around them. Felicity at first comes across as a spoiled twit but as things move forward, she shows her caring nature for her family and the small number of servants in her household. She mainly wants the money and prestige so no one will look down their nose at her and those she loves. Thatcher is so uneasy with his newfound ducal duties that he wants to enjoy life before he must give up his freedom. If he can at least have a woman like Felicity by his side, it may all be worth it.
Yes, it’s all fairly absurd but I found it quite endearing. Felicity had this adorable habit of making sure Thatcher kept warm by buttoning up his coat whenever he ventured outside. And Thatcher would refuse part of his salary from Felicity so she would be able to put food on her table. They were just cute.
Sometimes you need a story like Loves Letters from a Duke and its unique innocence. Thank you to Elizabeth Boyle for giving me a few fond chuckles and sighs.