The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean

August 30, 2017 Book Reviews 10 ★★★★★

The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLeanThe Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel #3
Published by Avon on June 27, 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: the publisher
Purchase: Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: The Rogue Not Taken

The one woman he will never forget…
Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only one problem—he already has one.

The one man she will never forgive…
After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow cannot resist.

A love that neither can deny…
The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their broken past, he can give her forever, making every day The Day of the Duchess.

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age.

Review

Never dismiss Sarah MacLean as “merely” a writer of humorous romances. Yes, she can write clever dialogue that leaves you chuckling, and she sometimes puts her characters in situations that will make you laugh out loud. But she can also slay you with deep, heartfelt emotion: pain, passion, grief, loyalty, hopeless love, and the glorious, triumphant joy of true love returned.

MacLean does all of the above in The Day of the Duchess, the third book in her Scandal and Scoundrel series. At one point, the pain felt by both Sera and Mal was so intense and so well-written, I had to put the book down for a few days… yet eventually I had to pick it up again to see how their situation would be resolved. And of course I knew it would be resolved, and they would get their happy-ever-after eventually, because I trust MacLean to honor the unspoken promise between romance writer and romance reader. But to be honest, I couldn’t really see how.

There are plenty of funny moments, and several scenes that made me want to cheer for one character or another—not always the main characters; Sera’s sisters are amazing and delightful, and some of the young women Mal summons as potential brides deserve books and heroes of their own. (I’ve also got my fingers crossed for Sera’s American friend Caleb and… well, I’ll let you figure it out.)

But there were as many scenes that wrenched my heart or brought me to tears—or more. And yet I loved the book: loved the characters, loved Mal’s slow recognition of his own faults, loved Sera’s determination to remain true to herself and set both of them free, loved Mal’s final grand gesture in the battle they’re waging over their marriage. If I have any complaint, it’s only that the singer in me desperately wants the music to the song Sera sings about a girl “born that day in the heart of a boy.”

Like The Rogue Not Taken before it, The Day of the Duchess easily earns a place on my list of best romances of the year. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a considerable MacLean backlist to catch up on…

five-stars

About Sarah MacLean

New York Times, Washington Post & USA Today bestseller Sarah MacLean is the author of historical romance novels that have been translated into more than twenty languages, and winner of back-to-back RITA Awards for best historical romance from the Romance Writers of America.

Sarah is a leading advocate for the romance genre, speaking widely on its place at the nexus of gender and cultural studies. She is the author of a monthly column celebrating the best of the genre for the Washington Post. Her work in support of romance and the women who read it earned her a place on Jezebel.com’s Sheroes list of 2014 and led Entertainment Weekly to call her “gracefully furious.” A graduate of Smith College & Harvard University, Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband and daughter.

10 Responses to “The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean”

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      You’re right that I rarely give 5-star reviews! But this is certainly one of the best historical romances I’ve read recently, and that’s saying quite a bit. I hope you enjoy the series. I need to read the middle book, A Scot in the Dark.

  1. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    This sounds wonderful! My first Sarah MacLean was The Rogue Not Taken and I was impressed with her ability to infuse the book with emotion. I’ve been really looking forward to this one and now really can’t wait! I can see how it could get too much though. I may have to mix a nice happy murder book in with this to keep the feels down a bit!
    Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library recently posted…This Week in Reading – September 3My Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I had to laugh over “a nice happy murder book,” but I know what you mean. The intensity of emotion in this book is pretty high. A cozy mystery would have been a good break. (Instead, I binge-read a fairy-tale retelling series by Dennis McKiernan.)

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