Get it at Amazonfrom our DIK review: A new book from Loretta Chase is always cause for celebration, and her latest, A Duke in Shining Armor, gets her new Difficult Dukes trilogy off to a start worthy of much festivity. On the face of it, it’s the very simple story of two people falling in love with the ‘wrong’ (right) person and having to decide what they are willing to risk to be together; but this is Loretta Chase and in her hands, ‘simple’ encompasses fully-rounded characters with real emotional depth, lots and lots of wonderful, witty dialogue, a beautifully developed romance and a good helping of sharp-eyed social observation. Lady Olympia Hightower, only daughter of the Earl of Gonerby, has spent the majority of her seven London Seasons sitting on the sidelines with the wallflowers and dowagers. She’s practical, sensible, not the least bit dashing and not the sort of young lady men notice. In fact, her one claim to fame is that she has been voted Most Boring Girl of the Season for seven years in a row. So the last thing she expects is to receive a marriage proposal from the gorgeously handsome but dissolute Duke of Ashmont, referred to as ‘His Grace with the Angel Face’ by his closest friends and fellow Dis-Graces, the Duke of Blackwood and the Duke of Ripley. With financially irresponsible parents and six brothers to be provided for Olympia knows what must be done. Ashmont is well-heeled – if not especially well-behaved – so she accepts his proposal and preparations for the wedding go on apace. Hugh Ancaster, seventh Duke of Ripley, has literally just returned from a year spent abroad, so is surprised, on the eve of the wedding, to be pressed into service as groomsman. He does his job well; Ashmont arrives on time the next morning (albeit a little worse for wear from the previous night’s carouse and subsequent fight) and now all that is wanted is the blushing bride – of whom there is no sign. Worried that the longer the wait, the drunker and more aggressive Ashmont will become, Ripley tries to find her – only to come upon her when she’s half-way out the library window declaring her intention to take a breath of air in Kensington Gardens. In her wedding dress. In the rain. It’s obvious Olympia has been crying and he can also smell the strong whiff of brandy about her – but before he can stop her, she’s out of the window and running away. Ripley tells himself he shouldn’t be the one to hare off in pursuit – she’s not his fiancée after all - but Ashmont put him in charge of ensuring the wedding goes smoothly, and it can’t do that without a bride. After a brief hesitation, he follows her and the pair embarks upon the journey if not quite from hell, then one in which pretty much everything that can go wrong – does.
Grade: ACheck Review